Paul Hazendonk’s MNL imprint closes the year out with one of its best progressive house releases yet.
Kasall and Cristian R have had an incredible 2015. The Argentinean duo dominated the underground this year with EPs for Flow Vinyl, Sudbeat, Movement Recordings and Sound Avenue, all of which received praise from Hernan Cattaneo and Nick Warren. Now as the year winds to a close we find Kasall and Cristian collaborating with one of the industry’s most well know vocalists Amber Long. Together the trio have crafted ‘My Soul’ which includes a strong selection of remixes from Dustin Nantais, Simos Tagias and Subandrio.
Both old and new fans of progressive house have fallen in love with the Kasall and Cristian R sound. They’ve got a very groovy, contemporary thing going on and there are few better at making club worthy cuts than these two. Their latest ‘My Soul’ has been the subject of much discussion in recent months. After being played several times by Nick Warren, YouTube videos and sets began appearing showcasing the tracks raw beauty. Now many months later it finally sees the light of day. What stands out here is it’s rugged foundation, ethereal motifs and Amber’s haunting vocals. The groove is contoured to perfection and the chord changes are positively riveting. Layers of wispy vocals offset Amber’s main lead and ultimately carry the track into the break. Here some nice bass modulation creates a touch of tension, but just the right amount to work in conjunction with dreamy vibe. The vocal storyboard continues to develop over the third act and is the highlight of the tracks smooth yet exhilarating conclusion. Gorgeous work from Kasall, Cristian and Amber.
The first interpretation of ‘My Soul’ is provided by Dustin Nantais who has certainly found a home on the Manual Music family of labels this year. The Canadian is making his 9th appearance on MNL and has another six on Manual Music. It’s safe to say the highlight of Dustin’s 2015 was ‘Marching Through The Universe’. Released on Wide Angle Recordings in September the Lee Burridge supported release went on to dominate the Beatport charts as did the remix package two months later. Having heard probably all of Dustin’s remixes this year I have to say he’s incredibly imaginative with each and every one. You can hear he goes the extra mile to bring something unique and different rather than taking an easier, less creative route. On ‘My Soul’ he revamps the groove into something much more energetic and Donna Summer inspired which immediately makes it a great dance floor option. With such a dominate foundation Dustin lets some subtle modulation add further swing while Amber’s vocals drift through the percussive framework. A stripped down middle section proves to be track’s dramatic highpoint, where a deliberate build and suitably massive payoff with re-uped groove delivers the knockout blow. Huge remix from Dustin which is bound to be a winner on the dance floor.
The second interpretation of ‘My Soul’ is provided by Simos Tagias who is making his first appearance on MNL. Much like Kasall and Cristian, Simos has risen mightily through the progressive house underground in 2015. The early part of the year was highlighted with releases on Cid Inc’s Replug Records and Luke Porter’s Temporum Music while the latter part sees one of Simos’ most anticipated projects to date, an EP for Movement Recordings nearing its release. Simos has been widely regarded as one of Greece’s top producers this year and for as prolific as he is the quality remains remarkably consistent. For his ‘My Soul’ interpretation Simos goes deep and dark with a spacious yet rugged groove. Nostalgic pads along with the reprocessed vocal make for a haunting journey while additional rhythmic elements highlight a short and well crafted break. The trailing gates are a nice touch and lead to an ultimate moment of serenity before a rush of white noise initiates a more musical third act finale. Wonderful remix from Simos who is someone else to keep a close eye on in 2016.
The final interpretations of ‘My Soul’ are provided by Subandrio who is making his first appearance on MNL. Now residing back home in Sri Lanka (formerly Dubai) Subandrio caught the attention of the entire underground when his 3 track ‘Fractured Moment’ EP was released on Cid Inc’s Replug Records earlier this year. Other 2015 highlights include being selected as one of the winner’s in the Cid Inc. vs. Darin Epsilon remix competition along with a long line of excellent productions for Balkan Connection, Baroque Records, Clinique Recordings and Seven Spirits Records. With Subandrio’s remix being included here this really does make the entire release a who’s who of the new progressive house landscape. The Sri Lankan producer has been working closely with Kasall and Cristian in recent months so to see two versions from him here is not a total surprise. Their respective sounds complement each other very well and it’s resulted in two excellent versions. The main mix utilizes Amber’s vocals over a trademark Subandrio foundation. Rough, rugged and full of electricity, it charges forward as waves of percussion and poignant keys highlight the atmosphere. The main break is deadly as a wash of time stretched vox and white noise flows through a slow, methodical build, eventually peaking with spiralling atmospheres bringing back the mammoth groove. A wealth of clever vocal edits and timely drops keeps the 12 minute running time from seeming as long as it is, while adding many surprises during the records home stretch. Also included is a Subandrio Dub which offers up the same extended sonic journey minus the majority of Amber’s more prominent vocals. They’re both absolutely monstrous and certainly the biggest versions on the release. It rounds out what is a progressive house lovers wet dream of a package and puts a cap on a year full of exciting releases and great musical variety for Paul Hazendonk’s MNL. Looking forward to more in 2016. Highly Recommended.