Stripped Digital’s latest release revisits Ewan Rill’s ‘Lightness’ EP from 2012, with each of the tracks being turned over to a different artist from the label’s roster. The remixes come from John O’Connor, Neil Browne, Gvozdini, Politis, and Kertek.
John O’Connor retains the melodic heart of Ewan Rill’s original version of the title track while giving it a bit more power, with a booming, hypnotic bassline, crisp percussion, and a couple of really exciting builds with the main melody climbing over a second offbeat bassline falling either side of the lovely breakdown. I was really impressed by O’Connor’s last release for Stripped Digital, and it’s kind of hard to believe that this is his first ever remix – it’s terrific, and the highlight of the package.
Next up on the remix of ‘Prototype’ we have Neil Browne, whose debut EP on Stripped Recordings dropped earlier this week. A menacing, growling bassline, industrial swooshes, subtle stabs, intense handclaps, and cleverly timed hi-hats dominate. Overall, though, it’s hard not to feel like Browne strips out too much of Ewan Rill’s original’s sense of melody and fun, instead coming across as rather tuneless and repetitive, and I found myself wishing it would switch things up a bit long before the end.
‘One Function’, a collaboration with Russian producer Reflection Soul, took the ‘Lightness’ EP into neo-trance territory, and Gvozdini keeps things there. Kicking off with hypnotic bleeps and two simple, interlocking basslines, the remix builds with snappy percussion, big chord changes, and glassy motifs. A nice breakdown introduces further melodies before a cool drum fill heralds the onset of the track’s finale. I’m a fan of Gvozdini’s stuff (including his excellent upcoming single for the label, ‘Symphony’), though this remix wasn’t quite my style. It’ll work a treat for those looking for melodic, well-produced main room progressive/neo-trance gear though.
Politis rework ‘Contact’, giving the track a subtle breakbeat treatment. Unfortunately, it’s a bit too subtle for its own good, with some nice and atmospheric ideas from Ewan Rill’s original creeping in from time to time, but much of the track taken up with a simple bassline and shuffling drums on loop, to no real purpose.
Kertek’s take on ‘Music Philosophy’ floats the original’s melodies over a growling, shifting bassline and There’s a nice sequence following the main breakdown, but overall the different elements of the remix never really come together as you would hope, the percussion lacks the kind of crispness and power the track needs, and the insistent looped part in the background that comes in after thirty seconds and runs throughout the rest of the remix gets old quite quickly, and lends it a very one-dimensional feel. I think more could have been done with this one too, sadly.
This is a slightly mixed package, boasting excellent work from John O’Connor and a strong showing from Gvozdini (even though his remix didn’t appeal to me personally), and the other three remixes letting things down a bit, failing to do justice to Ewan Rill’s originals. Still, when it’s good, it’s good. 7/10