The 294th release on Balkan Connection features the debut of Audio Lab to the label. Big Al, Gunther and Elias Merhab joined forces in 2012 and make up the Audio Lab production trio. Their first collaboration together was featured on Baroque Records ‘Exit Ibiza’ collection which was released in September of 2012. The trio have since gone on to appear on Big Al’s Ready Mix Records and Tone Depth’s Bad Pony Records. Their debut single for Balkan Connection is entitled ‘Amnesia’ and it comes with remixes from Santiago Garcia and Napalm & d-phrag.
The original mix gets the release off to a very strong start with a powerful groove and well crafted melodic hooks. The introduction of a silky smooth vocal opens the track up amazingly well and subtle harmonies continue to grow as the breakdown approaches. Here the vocal is expanded upon and sets up a drummy second half conclusion that should be great for the dance floor. Audio Lab have also provided a dub version for all the less vocally inclined DJs out there.
The first remix on the release is provided by Santiago Garcia who is returning to Balkan Connection for his 32nd appearance. The Argentinean producer and owner of Baires Records has been quiet this year until just recently when two fresh EPs dropped on Deported Music and Patent Skillz. His ‘Only Feeling EP’ on the former showcased Santi’s ever expanding studio sound with some of the funkiest grooves of his career. For his ‘Amnesia’ interpretation Santiago has reworked the track into a dark, brooding affair which complements the original version very well. The Argentinean’s strong groove crafting skills are very evident once again with a drum heavy framework and strong rhythmic components leading the way. With only a faint vocal stab throughout the entire production those looking for another dub alternative would be hard to go wrong with this as it comes with a big time dance floor sensibility.
The second and final remix on the release is provided by Napalm & d-phrag who are returning to Balkan Connection for their 12th appearance. The duo have continued to climb the progressive house ranks this year and may hold a record for the number of times they’ve appeared in Beatport’s ‘Must Hear Tracks of the Week’ chart. Their interpretation of ‘Amnesia’ is already a firm favourite of John OO Fleming and given the records strong atmospheric presence it’s not hard to understand why. The duos hazy backdrop of misty textures is quite captivating and the groove sits in such a way that’s it’s not lost by it at all. A brief breakdown keeps the focus firmly on dance floor and the delicate melodic accents are quite tasteful and thought provoking. It’s certainly not the biggest sounding production of Napalm & d-phrag’s career but it’s most likely one of their best. A great release from Balkan Connection.