Progressive House Reviews

Julian Rodriguez & Martin Berger – Birdcage (Balkan Connection)

Julian Rodriguez, Martin Berger, Birdcage, Balkan Connection, Nicholas Van Orton, yuriy from russia, Alex Villanueva, Kaban

The 286th release on Balkan Connection finds Julian Rodriguez and Martin Berger teaming up for their first ever studio collaboration. Argentinean producer Julian Rodriguez created his Massive Harmony Records imprint less than a year ago but has already established the label quite nicely with over 40 releases and a 90 man artist roster. Originally from Uruguay but now residing in Mexico Martin Berger has been a well kept secret of the electronic music underground with releases on Green Snake and Beat Control. The result of Julian and Martin’s first ever studio collaboration is entitled ‘Birdcage’ and it comes with remixes from Nicholas Van Orton, Yuriy From Russia and Alex Villanueva & Kaban.

The original mix comes with a smooth groove that’s well complemented with clattering drums and a nice selection of rhythmic elements. The soft stabs follow a very catchy sequence which drives the track during its first act. The atmospheric elements soon begin to take over though and the soaring vibes carry the track to the main break. Otherworldly sounding electronics highlight the interlude and they seem all the more special set against those heavenly pads which offer some heartfelt emotion before the beats return for a strong second half conclusion.

The first remix is provided by Nicholas Van Orton who has delivered one of his best productions of the year. Already charted and played by Hernan Cattaneo Nicholas’ mix takes all the great rhythmic elements from the original and reinvents them in a refreshingly subtle manner over a much more club friendly framework. The spacey electronics and shimmering pads make for an unquestionably serene break and the tasteful drum fills which appear in the second half are just the icing on the cake. Brilliant stuff from Nicholas and great to see Hernan supporting this one so heavily.

The second interpretation comes from one of this year’s most tireless producers Yuriy From Russia. In the first two weeks of June Yuriy has already notched a whopping 13 releases and he amazingly continues to deliver quality and varied sounds in his productions. For his ‘Birdcage’ interpretation Yuriy has stayed true to the atmospheric themes from the original but has added some extra drive and tempo which should be well suited for peak time play. It’s hard to go wrong with those great textures from the original and they really shine here again particularly during a stripped down middle section. Good stuff from Yuriy.

The third and final remix is provided by Alex Villanueva & Kaban who also delivered something quite special here. The Mexican duo are frequent studio partners and most recently delivered an amazing remix of DJ Borra’s ‘Cosmo’ on Stellar Fountain. For their ‘Birdcage’ interpretation Alex and Kaban have delivered a beefed up version with a cool techy edge. The first half of the record is absolutely monstrous with big beats, sonically charged sweeps and a plethora of drums which add a ton of bounce to the groove. As the track moves closer to its second act those serene atmospheres begin to descend over the framework along with a very ethereal sounding vocal sample. The middle section of the record is what really stands out for me as it’s void of any real breakdown and smoothly transitions through a variety of subtle themes which keep the track incredibly fresh sounding. Excellent work from Alex and Kaban and a really good release on Balkan Connection, one of my favourites on the label this year actually. Great to see Hernan supporting it so heavily. Don’t miss it.

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