Album Review: Applescal / ‘Dreaming in Key’ (Atomnation)

Applescal Dreaming in Key

★★★★☆

Three albums already under his belt and only 24, Pascal Terstappen begins his next as a laboratory observer of dancefloor variables, and finishes as a peak-time club patriot able to massage your mind alongside. Out of scientific and clinical, Appelscal works with breakbeat plots and rewarding rollers, and spears ambient grooves so that the Dutchman lifts spirits at the same time as he shakes you up.

This becomes a feature, a calm framework featuring barb wire snags and a Technicolor out for the dancefloor, “Spring and Life” is deep house at its noisiest, partial to becoming a full-blown techno threat. “Wise Noise on Time” is another of calm passages set to prickly bass, like a scientist trying to breed opposing species, and the brilliant “Thanks for Fun” is a powerfully chorded yet oddly down in the mouth house cut. Both attacking yet uneasy, it could well cause definitive dancefloor moments of truth when the right lights drop. Those same chords form the basis of “Onetasker,” yet joy is taken from cyclical, luminous ambience following you around the room.

Terstappen carries on fronting up and falling back at the drop of a dime. “El Diablo” has potential to be another affirmative hit with its low furrowing bass building up a melodically Euro head of steam. “Vintage Clown Shadow Hunters” and “Keep on Dreaming” power down from inside a maximalist’s crystal diamond, joined by the bashfully sweetened entertainer “The Composer.” 2013 has its first one-to-watch.

File under: Extrawelt, Nathan Fake, Dan Snaith

Read our list of 125 dance/electronic albums to look for in 2013 here.

Matt Oliver