Progressive House Reviews

Dustin Nantais – Dagger EP (Manual Music)

Dustin Nantais - Dagger EP

The latest release on Paul Hazendonk’s Manual Music finds Dustin Nantais returning for a brand new EP entitled ‘Dagger’.

Dustin Nantais - Dagger EP

The Canadian producer has been an integral part of the Manual Music roster over the last year. Dustin made his debut on the Dutch imprint in July of 2014 with a contribution to the labels Summer Movement compilation. He then quickly followed that up with the very well received ‘Happenstance’ EP. A remix (in conjunction with Paul Hazendonk) of Max Cue’s ‘Triangle’ kicked the year off in style and now his long waited new EP is ready complete with remixes from Dale Middleton and Stas Drive. 

The EP begins with the title cut ‘Dagger’ which showcases how versatile Dustin is. There’s a sizable amount of funk here and the dance floor appeal is huge as a result. Those well carved bass stabs are deadly hooks and the catchy melodies play off them wonderfully. Smooth chord changes bring a nice emotional element and a deliberate build during the main break sets up a modular delight for the climax. The companion piece ‘Makes Me Feel’ comes in a bit more stripped back and quirky which sits as a nice complement to the more direct ‘Dagger’. The unpredictably of the acid-like lead is quite refreshing and the uniqueness of the vocal sample adds further intrigue throughout its wobbly journey. Two solid cuts from Dustin who has definitely stretched his sonic palette here once again. 

The lone interpretation of ‘Dagger’ is supplied by Dale Middleton who is making his first appearance on Manual Music. The UK producer is fresh off a standout EP for Hernan Cattaneo’s Sudbeat Music and also has 2015 releases on Parquet Recordings and SexOnWax. Much like Dustin, Dale is quite diverse, known for bigger proggy bombs, tough techno cuts and deep hypnotic groovers, you never know quite what to expect but it will always be top quality. For his ‘Dagger’ interpretation Dale has taken Dustin’s chunky, funk fuelled original and transformed it into a timeless techno construction which absolutely rocks. The light, airy feel of the hooks is fantastic and adds even more bounce to those wobbly bass waves which power the groove. Vocal gates and some electronic glimmer lead the track into the break before a poignant piano enters and sets up an enormous build. The restrained payoff is absolutely perfectly with just the kick and a shimmering chordal overlay providing the ultimate moment. Gorgeous remix from Dale. 

The lone interpretation of ‘Make Me Feel’ is provided by Stas Drive who is also making his debut on Manual Music. The Ukrainian producer has been hot this year with a string of remix hits for Movement Recordings, Golden Wings Music, Keep Thinking and System Recordings. Stas too has been broadening his production scope with a much groovier and more contemporary approach. His recent work for Spaghetti Monster certainly exemplifies that as does his interpretation of ‘Make Me Feel’. It’s darker electronic feel and raised tempo doesn’t hurt the groove at all and it may actually be one of Stas Drive’s grooviest creation to date. The offset vocal gates enhance the rhythmic swing mightily while the growling electronic underbelly proves to be quite menacing. The way the track strips down into its second act is magical and the best moment on the record for me. The clustered keys and gradual atmospheric decay sets up the third act perfectly and the return of the beats is the most menacing moment on the release. Wonderfully tripped out stuff from Stas Drive and a great release from Manual Music once gain. Don’t miss it.

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