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Justin Massei – Nothing Can Hide (Selador)

Selador’s 26th release sees the return of Justin Massei, following up contributions to the label’s Showcase compilations with his first full release. Remixes come from Selador’s own Dave Seaman and Welsh producer Third Son.

I’m more of a fan of the melodic side of Selador’s output, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good slice of filth when I hear it. ‘Nothing Can Hide’ is just that – a dirty, techy murky ride full of mechanical grooves, heavily processed vocal samples, and stabbing bassy blasts. The breakdown features simple gothic-sounding synths that keep the mood dark and paranoid, before it’s straight back to business.

Dave Seaman’s take on Justin Massei’s track has a tighter and cleaner sound, and it builds quickly with a wicked pulsing bassline, an urgent, wonked out lead synth, and lovely chattering high-hat work. The vocals and other parts from the original are used really effectively here, and overall I preferred this version a lot; Seaman manages to take the best of Justin Massei’s ideas while injecting an infectious energy into proceedings.

I like Third Son’s remix still more though. He keeps the dark, grungey feel at the low end of the track with a growling, groovy bassline, but up top he adds layers of glassy, glistening melodies. The mid-section sticks a bit more closely to the sounds and mood of Justin Massei’s original, though the melodies return to brighten up the track during the breakdown and the final two minutes. The combination of sweetness and darkness reminds me of Third Son’s Selador label-mates HearThuG and Daryln Vlys – absolutely superb stuff from this exciting young producer here.

It’s back to Justin Massei for the final word, with his second original ‘The Creator’. If anything, this is even harder and darker in feel than the title track, with some weird effects and the occasional vocal sample the only ornaments on a relentless, cavernous techno stomp. This is just a little too minimalist for my tastes, I have to admit, though I can readily imagine it really rocking the right crowd at the right moment.

It’s easy to forget that it’s only taken a little over two years for Dave Seaman and Steve Parry to turn Selador from an idea they were kicking around between them into one of the most essential and respected labels out there. This latest release from Justin Massei continues their strong run in 2015, with Third Son providing my personal favourite of the offerings here.


What do you think?

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