House Music Reviews

Fran Von Vie & Cumiks – Promises EP (Crossfrontier Audio)

For its fifteenth release Marc Poppcke’s Crossfrontier Audio introduces a double-header from three of Spain’s freshest young producers, Fran Von Vie and duo Cumiks.  Fran Von Vie will already be very familiar from recent outstanding tracks on 99percent, Sudbeat, Proton, Particles and more, while Cumiks have recently built their reputation with appearances on Manual and Cinematique. This release marks their second collaboration, and features remixes from Manual Music’s Paul Hazendonk & Noraj Cue and newcomer Max Farlane, here making his second appearance on the label after last year’s ‘Penzium’ with Poppcke.

‘Promises’ is a low-key, moody piece sitting on the boundary between progressive and deep house. A chunky, growling bass carries the first half of the track until a distorted string melody really lifts things in the second. There are definitely some interesting ideas here, but they’re much better utilized in the remix, leaving the original sounding a little flat in comparison.

At first Paul Hazendonk & Noraj Cue’s remix sounds much like the original, but two minutes in they hit us with a irresistible rolling bassline and twist the track’s main theme into an unsettling and exciting counterpoint. What really makes this remix work, though, is the absolutely gorgeous piano work that’s sprinkled throughout at all of the right moments. This is the perfect soundtrack to the summer that those of us in Britain probably won’t get, and it’s beautiful, classy, and musically rich without losing sight of the dancefloor. Inspired work, and definitely my pick of the four tracks here.

‘Cold as Ice’ is the second original track from Von Vie and Cumiks, and it’s a headier, techier affair than ‘Promises’. Glacial sweeps and distant fragments of vocoder sit on top of a simple but compelling groove. This is a deep and driving workout, and the better of the two originals here for my money.

Max Farlane’s interpretation of ‘Cold as Ice’ is a low-tempo, hypnotic progressive houser, but it didn’t quite work for me. There just wasn’t enough movement, and the main melodic ideas introduced during the breakdown weren’t memorable enough to really provide a satisfying musical or emotional climax to the track.

If you want some sunshine in your life, head straight for the remix of ‘Promises’, while for deeper, darker moments the original of ‘Cold as Ice’ will be just the ticket.

7/10

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