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Luke Mandala – Wide Open (MNL)

Manual Music’s MNL offshoot starts the new year strong with a brand new EP from US producer Luke Mandala.

Luke Mandala - Wide Open

Paul Hanzendonk’s MNL imprint closed the year out very strong with an EP from Erdi Irmak. Now two weeks after the release it’s still riding high in the Beatport Progressive chart. MNL’s first offering of 2015 continues that strong momentum and welcomes Luke Mandala back to the label. The US producer had a very strong 2014 with appearances on Selador, Traum and Mirabilis Records. Luke’s new EP for MNL is entitled ‘Wide Open’ and includes two brand new original productions alongside a remix from Nantais and Hazendonk.

I’ve been following Luke’s productions for a number years and looking back over his discography the Outside The Box and Manual releases are still incredibly fresh. There has always been a warm, organic vibe about his productions and they always come with a great dance floor sensibility as well. The lead track here ‘Wide Open’ is full of many memorable elements. The rough, rippling foundation is incredibly distinctive and I suspect quite murderous on a proper sound system. What’s most alluring though is the wavering melodic theme which runs through the main break. There are plenty of tension filled twists and turns along the way as it modulates with a calculated abandon. A big track from Luke which is full of emotion and groove, and one that should receive a suitably big response on the dance floor.

The companion piece ‘Why’ showcases a more stripped down, techno inspired side of Luke’s studio repertoire. Backed once again by a rough, character filled bass line the piece carries a large presence even given it’s relatively stripped down nature early on. The vocal elements are quite lovely and add a soft, alluring vibe which plays perfectly of the general ruggedness of the groove and mildly warped harmonies. Gorgeous tune from Luke.

The lone interpretation of ‘Why’ is provided by what is likely to be one 2015’s most talked about new production duos Nantais and Hazendonk. Word has it that this Canada / Netherlands duo has been hard at work and a bevy of dance floor creations are already flowing for release later this year. Dustin came on incredibly strong as 2014 progressed having racked up a discography that included releases on Balkan Connection, Crossfade Sounds, Manual Music and Proton Music ; whereas Paul is perhaps coming off his best year ever as well with his ‘Adapt’ album sitting as the crowning achievement. Having only one joint production out thus far here we get a peek at Paul and Dustin’s collaborative sound and the results as you would expect are quite spectacular. The duo have taken the rugged grooves and bright melodic themes from original and transformed them into a deeper, smoother and (for me) more alluring sound. The softening of the melodies and added pianos make for a gorgeous theme and one that approaches end of the night territory. Beautiful work from Dustin and Paul, looking forward to hearing what they come up with next. Top notch release from MNL.

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