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First Impressions: “ES”

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Satoshi Tomiie’s new mix album ES, like any good dance mix collection, has a theme. The theme of it is the return of acid house (if it actually ever left). Throughout most of the tracks is that distictive squelchy, squiggly, fuzzy acid synth that typified the dance music of the late 1990s. Along with the acid vibe is a prominent progressive feel. It feels like something coming out of a New York City club where the music is harder, and the dancing more serious.

ES starts with Kevin Freeman’s “Time for Revolution.” Part of the revolution is one of production. This song feels like it was made in Freeman’s bedroom studio (if he has one). I don’t mean that in a bad way. The technology to enable artists to make music practially anywhere expands sonic experimentation. All music lovers should appreciate that. “Revolution” goes for the old school, Kraftwerk, Derrick May sound. There’s a lack of a distinctive bass drum, acid flourishes, and sirens. This is a good, entertaining start to the mix. What would be more entertaining would be something more carnal.

“Revolution” mixes beautifully into Pastaboys’ “Tribute.” It’s still techno but incorporates dark, progressive sounds. Sexy vocals tell you to “Shake your body down” and “Do it to me, I’ll do it to you.” Combine that with a minimal melody that attatches to the bass and goes straight to your hips, and you have something almost erotic.

Avenue D’s “You Love This Ass” and Bush II Bush’s “Piano Track” loosen things up and move into the house range of dance music. A couple uneventful tracks pass until we come to Peace Division’s “Peaces of Gold.” Here we have something dark and sexy with a nice synth build up that makes it epic sounding. Think a dark, house version of Moby’s “God Moving Over the Face of the Waters.”

Chab’s “You And Me” (Satoshi Tomiie ES Edit) and Maskio’s “Wait (I Know What You Need)” take us to a progressive level. Texture replaces melody with driving bass and weird, hypnotic vocals. I swear Smegol is telling me, “I know what you need” on the Maskio track.

JheReal’s remix of Uppfade’s “Friday Loops” is a funky, wide open house song. This is the definite arm waver with ass-shaking bass. Later on Beckers’ “Fake” continues the positive energy output with driving keyboards. And if you pay attention to the lyrics (and are old enough) you’ll recognize them from Living Colour’s “Desparate People.”

For a mix released in the summer ES doesn’t have any smiley, cheery tracks–Ibiza trance this ain’t. Regardless, ES‘ combination of styles (dare I lable it “tech progressive?”) and middle-of-the night vibe should provide ample listening value.

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