Toronto based label Microcastle were responsible for some of the biggest and best records of 2012, with EPs from DNYO, Lank & Cid Inc., Quivver, Andre Sobota, Cristior, and David Granha enjoying huge club and radio support as well as considerable success in the Beatport charts. Their first EP of 2013 features two brand new collaborations between two of the most respected producers around, Kassey Voorn and Deepfunk, with Oliver Lieb and Nhar lending further heavyweight support on remix duties.
The title track immediately wraps everything in a melancholy atmosphere, with moody synths and a persistent offbeat bass-line creating a lovely progressive soundscape. Things briefly take a darker turn after the main breakdown, squelchy acid lines pulling the track forward, before everything clicks back into place for the final two minutes. The one element of the track that didn’t work so well for me was the vocals, and so I found the inclusion of a dub version of the track that keeps the vocals to a minimum very welcome.
More welcome still is Nhar’s outstanding remix, the highlight of the package for me. His remix is initially characterized by a more propulsive bass-line and crisper percussion than the original, and it quickly builds into a sparkling, gorgeous piece of music. Nhar’s previous work has shown a willingness to explore territory between deep house and a more progressive sound, and halfway through his remix of ‘Where You Are’ he does so again, introducing a dubbier, groovier feel, while drifting pads, beautiful chimes, and a very effective use of vocal snippets from the original keep things melodic and moving. This is definitely some of Nhar’s best work to date.
The second original on the EP, ‘Long Time Coming’, offers a more techno-influenced take on progressive house. The sweetness of ‘Where You Are’ is replaced here with warm, buzzing analogue sounds and rippling melodies. However, the melodic ideas aren’t quite as strong here as on the title track, and I found myself wishing for a little more progression over the track’s 9 minute running time.
Oliver Lieb still remains one of the most influential and original producers in the industry, and his remix here reminds us why, marshaling the central elements of the track into an effective dance-floor weapon.
This is a must-have package from two fantastic producers, though in my view it’s the remixes that provide the standouts here. Overall, it’s another real winner from Microcastle. 8/10