Progressive House Reviews

Arjuna Schiks – First Thought (Wide Angle Recordings)

The 46th release on Wide Angle Recordings is out this week and it features the debut of Arjuna Schiks to the label. I first discovered the Dutch producer with his many releases on Manual Music from 2009-2012. Arjuna’s productions always seem to fall somewhere between melodic techno and contemporary tech house. He’s got a real talent for producing something that has a distinct musicality combined an underlying funkiness. It’s a rare thing in electronic music today and his recent releases on ‘Einmusika’ showcase this very well. Arjuna’s debut EP for Wide Angle Recordings is entitled ‘First Thought’ and it comes with remixes from Jamie Stevens.

The lead track ‘First Thought’ begins with a tight groove and a very unassuming harmonic drift. As the track progresses however the musical elements build mightily and deliver some amazing emotional moments. The gorgeously crafted melodic lines are invitingly warm and work in perfect harmonic unison with the wonderfully textured foundation thus making the end result quite spectacular. The second original included on the release ‘Complete’ really showcases what I love about Arjuna’s productions. An intricately constructed and well polished framework that comes with some dance floor punch but still has an understated, cool air about it. Add to that a bevy of playful hooks along with some effortless chord changes and you’ve got a really well polished piece of music that’s great for a contemporary dance floor or your living room. Two outstanding productions from Arjuna.

The remixes on the release are supplied by Jamie Stevens who is making his first appearance on Wide Angle Recordings. The Aussie producer has long been one of my favourites dating all the way back to the days of Infusion. He had an incredible 2013 which was highlighted by his collaboration with John Digweed and Nick Muir being included on Bedrock’s ‘Versus’ collection. Jamie’s provided two interpretations of ‘Complete’ here with the first being a more club oriented construction. The Aussie producer’s intricate and well polished grooves sound as fresh as ever here. Full of funky electronics, vibrant vocal elements and airy harmonics I’d have say this is an absolute masterpiece of a production. It’s one of those tunes that’s just got a real cool vibe about it which is not something many producers are able to convey these days. A lot of electronic music, particularly club music feels forced to me but this doesn’t at all. It’s effortless and just really fucking cool. Well done Jamie. The final selection on the release is Jamie’s “Galactic Version’ which is a gorgeous reconstruction of the harmonic elements from his main mix. Quite a profound piece of music which is filled with immense emotional depth. Needless to say it closes the release off on a very strong note and makes you wish there was more. One of Wide Angle’s best outings no doubt. Highly Recommended.

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