Ioan Gamboa – Kahleesi (Particles)

Following up on the release of the beautiful ‘The Garden of Bones’ on Particles earlier this year, the label gives a full release to a second track from Ioan Gamboa’s 2012 ‘Fire and Ice’ EP. ‘Kahleesi’ was the standout track from the EP, for my money, and the original is included in the release alongside welcome new remixes from Martin Etchegaray and Progreg.

Ioan Gamboa’s original builds for the first minute and half with a pulsing bass, atmospheric pads, and almost eastern-tingled percussion, before lighting up with a really simple but effective melody, which carries the track until the strong glassy lead takes over. The track drops into a dazzling breakdown, before swarms of handclaps summon the main elements of the track back into full effect. This is a big, joyful record, which still sounds totally fresh and exciting a year after its initial release. My only complaint with it is its rather DJ-unfriendly abrupt ending, but creative types will find workarounds, as they always do.

It’s not clear to me what’s going on in Argentina at the moment, but it’s becoming hard to keep up with all of the new talent emerging from there at the moment. Buenos Aires-based producer Martin Etchegaray makes his third appearance on Particles with his remix of Ioan Gamboa, giving us an absolutely firing version, fuelled mainly by a blistering but hypnotic bassline that absolutely tears through the track. The percussion is lovely and crisp, and  the swirls and ripples of melody that Etchegaray works throughout the track compliment the other elements really nicely. This is sleek but powerful peak-time progressive, and my pick from the package. (Try saying that quickly ten times.) With an excellent track forthcoming soon on the new Baires Compiled album, Etchegaray is clearly setting himself up as one to watch.

Russia is currently another hotbed of talented producers, and Moscow’s Progreg delivers the second remix here, following up his own ‘Deep Harmony’ release on the label last month. A brief but sweet intro already brings in some of the central features of the track, particularly the growling bass and persistent little synth motif, but Progreg holds back enough that there’s real impact when the snappy percussion really springs into action, and interlocking synth lines lead nicely into a warm, buzzing breakdown. The ascent out of the breakdown is really exciting, but I found the  sequence that follows just slightly too busy and lacking a really strong catchy hook to really pull the listener in. Progreg’s still got some one trick left up his sleeve, though, and after a minute the bassline suddenly goes postal, intensifying and carrying some wicked chord changes, before the remix gradually winds down. This is definitely the version that worked  least well for me personally, but that’s not saying very much; there are some terrific moments throughout, and it’ll definitely appeal to those with tastes running toward the trancier end of progressive house.

All three versions of Ioan Gamboa’s ‘Kahleesi’ are well worth checking out here, with the original still sounding the most distinctive, but Martin Etchegaray’s remix ultimately winning me over with its perfect balance of melody and propulsion. Recommended. 8/10

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