Afterglow Deep’s latest offering sees one of Athens’s finest producers, Kassey Voorn, step up to the plate. Voorn delivers two versions of ‘A Stride in the Dark’, while Music Man’s Petar Dundov turns in the remix.
Voorn’s Surface mix has me in a bit of a dilemma. On the one hand it’s a big, compelling sounding record, which is going to sound really great played in the right setting. This is peaktime fare, with huge chord changes, bold melodies and swinging percussion really pushing proceedings along, and a really effective breakdown nicely setting up an energetic second half. On the other, there’s a little persistent synth line that appears a minute and a half in and runs throughout the rest of the track, and unfortunately that just rubbed me the wrong way. So I was left a little in two minds – I wanted to like the Surface version a bit more than I actually did. But I am being picky – I doubt everyone will have the same reaction, and as I say, the track isn’t short of virtues.
The Deep version of ‘A Stride in the Dark’ presents the same themes as the Surface mix, but over a rather more subtle melodic techno backdrop. There’s a nice warm, buzzing quality to this version, but ultimately it lacks the power of its supposedly shallower counterpart.
I’m also a bit conflicted about what to say about Petar Dundov’s remix. Dundov has been responsible for some of the most distinctive and memorable remixes of the last few years – just think of his takes on Alan Fitzpatrick’s ‘Reflections’ or Gregor Tresher’s ‘The Life Wire’ – and I really enjoyed his ‘Ideas from the Pond’ album last year. But I felt like that album pushed his trademark sound as far as it could go, and subsequent productions from him have started to feel really rather samey. He’s created his own distinctive sound, for sure, but he seems to have tied his musical identity so closely to that particular sound that he doesn’t seem to allow himself any scope for moving away from it. His remix here features all the usual ingredients; a bubbling bassline is offset against hypnotic little melodic motifs for 8 minutes, while delicate pads add a bit of emotional impact. As it goes, this isn’t a bad example of Dundov’s work. It’s just that we’ve heard it all before, and the freshness has gone. It’s time for something new from Petar Dundov, and sadly his interpretation of ‘A Stride in the Dark’ doesn’t even hint at what that might sound like.
For a dancefloor picker-upper, go straight for Voorn’s own Surface mix. For deeper moments, Petar Dundov’s formula still works well enough, though his remix here really isn’t exactly going to set the heather ablaze. 7/10