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Formel – Mocoa / Entrages (Manual Music)

The 173rd release on Manual Music welcomes Formel back to the label for their debut EP.


The Dutch duo made their first appearance on the label earlier this month with a remix of ‘Third Lake’ by Boss Axis. In a year that’s featured music on Traum, Einmusika and Sincopat, Formel now present their first EP for Manual Music alongside remixes from Samuel Fach and Some Chemistry.

For those unfamiliar with Formel they are a production duo made up of Tom Noah and Bas van der Laken. The pair met quite accidentally and were both enjoying success in their solo production careers. While Bas was known for his progressive inspired productions Tom had been experimenting with tech house and once the two got together in the studio magic started to happen. This cross pollination of sounds resulted in a string of excellent material which was quickly signed by (the aforementioned) Traum, Einmusika and Sincopat.

The EP kicks off with ‘Mocoa’ which finds the duo crafting a funky, melodic creation that’s full of unique quirks and interesting designs along the way. Anchored by rugged bass stabs, the track flows through strong rhythmic themes and bright tonal motifs. The funkiness of the tune can’t be over stated, it’s tailor made for the dance floor, and a variety of them at that. It’s strong cadence carries through a stripped down second act with some wonderful modulation before the groove reconvenes for a strong finish.

The companion piece ‘Entrages’ definitely presents a more open, spacious quality but still with a unique funkiness which seems to be a Formel trademark. Again led by a strong tonal theme, the piece shifts through several quick drops with vocal elements and esoteric designs playing havoc with your mind. Can’t go wrong with either selection here and they definitely paint a great picture of Formel’s unique production hallmarks.

There are also two remixes supplied on the release which offer nice alternatives to the strong originals. First up Samuel Fach takes on ‘Mocoa’ with a more stripped down and techno inspired approach. The German producer has tailored all those funky hooks into a sleeker, more refined but equally groovy version. A short but well constructed break flows through an effects storyboard, reintroducing the beats and sparsely placed bass stabs for a great prelude to its third act finale. Wonderful remix from Samuel.

The lone interpretation of ‘Entrages’ is provided by Some Chemistry who is making his first appearance on Manual Music. The Dutch producer has a short but meticulous discography with key releases on Subjekt Recordings and His deep, hypnotic and spaced out sound has lent itself well to the ‘Entrages’ themes and the end result is a superb alternative to the original. Anchored by a moody, throbbing groove and strong atmospheric motifs it carries a well-built presence straight away. The funky nature of the original comes to life just a touch as the piece strips down into the main break, with chunky slabs of bass combined with sweeping vocal edits further enhancing the growing melancholic motif, which becomes fully realized during a sombre third act conclusion. A really strong interpretation and a radical departure from the original which is quite nice as well. It rounds out another powerful release on Paul Hazendonk’s Manual Music perfectly. Don’t miss it.

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