Marijan Raskovic aka Jelly For The Babies has long been a staple of the progressive house underground. The Serbian producer grew into one of our favourites through the last half of 2012 and on into 2013. His diverse style always lent itself well to the dance floor but was a pleasure to listen at the same time. This week we see a huge moment in Marijan’s career; his first full length album is out courtesy of Balkan Connection. ‘Dream Hunter Chronicles’ contains ten brand new tracks and looks set to be the crowning achievement in the Jelly For The Babies discography thus far.
We’ve heard varying styles of progressive house from Jelly For The Babies in the past but on ‘Dream Hunter Chronicles’ he has really explored a wide range of genre’s and musical themes. The traditional sounding ‘Arias’ seems like the perfect track to get the album underway. The clean and serene vibe is well complemented with angelic sounding vocals and glimmering electronics which certainly set the tone for what’s to come on ‘Dream Hunter Chronicles’.
The rainy day vibes of ‘Cloud 9’ and more the classically styled ‘Dream Hunter Chronicles’ are a cool blend of deep house and techno which solidifies that Jelly For The Babies has always been much more than a progressive house producer. It’s the late night vibes of ‘Dream Hunter Chronicles’ that set the stage for Marijan to further explore his endless sonic boundaries in ‘Jellyland’. The first electronica piece on the collection Jellyland’ is bursting with vibrancy and life. The shimmering cascades of keys seem to swirl endlessly over a bed of clever beats and stark drums. The almost film score vibe melds in a unique and inspiring way with his contemporary electronica sound.
Almost all good artist albums need to feel like a story or journey and ‘Dream Hunter Chronicles’ has that in abundance as things get taken down further with ‘Never Let Me Go’. The lazy beats, muted tones and murky vocal samples seem to have been processed to near perfection as the textures here really shine. It’s the midway point of the album and it sets the stage for ‘Pleasure Ground’ which is where you can feel the story developing even more. Marijan’s acidic groove is full of funk and the haunting vocal gates combined with spooky sounding electronics carries the piece over it’s almost ten minute excursion. The rolling funk continues with ‘Polaris’ which goes down as one of our favourite pieces on the album. The choppy rhythmic stabs really standout here and when combined with a wide array of unique vocal elements you’ve got one of the grooviest tracks on the collection.
The sultry sounding vocals of Vanessa Kanaan are featured on ‘Salva Me Da Luz’ which is another standout here. The shimmering sonic sweep which sets the breakdown off sounds literally set from heaven and when the full harmonic theme comes to fruition during the drop it’s a magic moment. The emotion here is pure and you can tell Marijan writes music from his heart which might be why this is so good. We’ve always been suckers for swirling clusters of keys and the second last piece on the collection ‘Trees Do Not Grow In Vegas’ showcases some of the most delicately produced strands we’ve heard in a while. They quickly disappear though in favour of some groovy stabs, wispy vocals and solid dance floor funk all of which sound dynamite. The chugging groove sets the stage for the collections final piece ‘Wrong Side Of The Wall’ which is one of the album’s biggest sounding pieces. The mashy melodic lead seems tailor made for an epic sunrise while the haunting vocal pads and swirling electronics provide just the right amount of hypnotic content. It’s put a resounding end to an incredible journey from Jelly For Babies which certainly encompasses some of his most mature and well crafted work to date. Highly Recommended.