Keeping Thinking closes the year out on high note with a superb EP from Castano.

Castano - French Hello / Specta

The UK imprint has been one of 2015’s most intriguing new labels. After a hugely successful launch with Stas Drive’s ‘Inspired By Her’ EP in March the label went on to sign cutting edge projects from Danny Oliviera and Melokollektiv. The mighty Jamie Stevens then delivered two remixes on the labels fourth project and it’s all amounted to an incredible beginning for Keep Thinking. Now as 2015 draws to a close we find the label presenting a brand new EP from Castano alongside remixes from Deepfunk.

UK producer Castano, also known as Kris Brown is part of the Keep Thinking team and is perhaps best known for his releases on Lynx Recordings and Perfect Session. Not a prolific producer by any mean, Kris focuses on getting the best out of each production with this being just his second release of 2015. He’s certainly closed the year out on a strong note, both for himself and the label.

The EP gets underway with ‘French Hello’ which finds Kris crafting a funky, tough minded tech house track with a real nose for the dance floor. Anchored by thick slabs of bass, the contoured groove is a true sonic delight but it’s the intricate motifs and vocal narrative which is most captivating here. Deep, unique and powerful; the vocal carries the track into the break where a squirrelly lead tantalizes the senses. Void of any predicable build the track cleverly transitions back to the groove and adds a touch of emotion in the process in with some wonderful pads. The companion piece ‘Specta’ comes in a bit more proggy but not to the extent where you start thinking old school, it’s deep and contemporary with an air of mystery running through it. Again the vocal elements, albeit a minor component sound really fresh to me and a grinding lead delivers a pretty big moment before being washed away for a more driving, stripped down rendition of the groove.

This project is quite unique in that both originals have been remixed by the same artist. I can’t recall a release quite like this in fact and the distinct honour has been given to the always excellent Deepfunk, who making his debut on the label has delivered two wondrous renditions. The tougher, distinctive elements from ‘French Hello’ have been stretched out into a dubby, glacial haze which sits quite nicely next to the original. The squirrely lead theme has been remodelled with a fuzzy, effervescent character which brings the track into the break. Prominent bass tones and a shoegaze style drift complement the lead electronics, and with a slow deliberate build the beats eventually re-enter with a smooth exhilarating rush. It’s quite magical how Deepfunk does this on many of his tracks, everything just feels right and there’s a great emotion coming from it yet it feels effortless somehow. Just wonderful creativity from the Maltese producer.

The release is capped off with his interpretation of ‘Specta’ which actually ups the energy somewhat from the deeper original. With a techno state of mind and smooth approach Deepfunk has made a timeless classic out of this one. With a modular, almost kaleidoscopic theme there’s a never ending vortex of sonic colour flowing through it from beginning to end. It makes for what is Deepfunk’s biggest and most peak time remix of the year and also closes the release out with great feeling. Given the originality of Kris’ originals and how stylistically different Deepfunk’s mixes turned out the release is nothing short of perfect. There’s diversity, talent and a great vibe overall. Not sure what the Keep Thinking crew has in store for 2016 but given what we’ve seen from them this year I wouldn’t expect anything less than excellence.

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  • Mitch Alexander
    Mitch Alexander

    WRITER @ C-U

    Mitch Alexander is the owner of microCastle | Beatport "One of the most influential, tastemaker labels out there and also part of our genre committee."