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Khen – Pollen Spreader EP (microCastle)

Khen has given us much of the year’s best music, and his debut EP on microCastle gives us even more, while Luca Bacchetti turns in a sublime remix of the title track.

The first of Khen’s three originals on the release is ‘Sunflakes’, which is both richly percussive and richly melodic, with the former driving the track onwards, and the layered, bleepy melodies working superbly with the warm key changes carried by the bass to create something moving and utterly charming. This is an unadulterated delight, and a fantastic start to the EP.

‘Emergency Routine’ is initially more minimalist, with a sparse bassline and gentle stabs, but Khen soon reveals amazing washes of melody, which work brilliantly set against the low-slung groove and edgy percussive loops. The breakdown floats on soft pads and hypnotic synths, letting Khen set up a final memorable drop.

Completing the trio, we have the title track, ‘Pollen Spreader’, which sees Khen working trippy melodics over another powerful bass-driven groove, before introducing the understated but totally compelling main organ theme and abstract hooks.

Luca Bacchetti unlocks the potential in Khen’s enchanting sounds and melodies even further with his ‘Endless’ remix, turning ‘Pollen Spreader’ into a 120bpm slice of dreamy, deep prog, which borrows liberally from Khen’s best ideas, while enhancing them with gorgeous ripples, a chugging bassline, and a strong arrangement. A more stripped-back middle section adds atmosphere with cool vocal samples, before a biting take on Khen’s main theme sets the scene for the remix’s glorious finale.

This is my favourite release from microCastle all year, and one of my favourite releases of 2015 overall, with all three of Khen’s originals pressing all of the right buttons (perhaps especially ‘Sunflakes’), and Luca Bacchetti’s remix proving something of a show-stealer even in such esteemed company.


What do you think?

Dave Seaman – Beyond Borders: Berlin (Armada)

CU #essentialprogressive Mixed By Aidan McGlynn (November 15)