Marc Poppcke’s Crossfrontier Audio has been gradually becoming my favourite label for melodic deep house sounds, tinged with just the right amount of progressive and techno influences. 

Marc Poppcke ups and down maximono muui svjet lana Vector polar bear

For the label’s 25th release, it revisits the ‘Ups & Downs’ EP from label-boss Marc Poppcke, offering up remixes from regulars Maximono and MUUI, as well as newcomers to the label Midas 104 and Svjet Lana.

Maximono’s debut EP on the label last year was great, and their remix of Marc Poppocke’s ‘Disco Gangster’ gets the release off to a surprisingly upbeat start, with gunshots, sirens, and a jacking groove immediately setting the tone. Cool vocal and bass work, long pads, and some shimmering synths create a pretty unique record, which manages to keep the funk of the original while both adding more of a melodic edge and upping the energy levels.

Berlin-based Midas 104 is relatively new name to me, despite a couple of appearances on Parquet. On the strength of his remix here, however, he’s going to be someone I’ll be watching very closely in the future. He takes on my personal favourite from Marc Poppocke’s EP, ‘This is Just the Beginning’, turning it into a delicately melodic number with the original’s understated motifs gliding over a warm, buzzing bassline, setting the scene for a serenely beautiful, floating theme. This is both really compelling, and simply beautiful.

MUUI is hardly a stranger to the label, having turned in some of its best releases, as well his forthcoming live album, dropping in early August. He appears twice on this release, first remixing the exquisite ‘Introverted’. MUUI wisely keeps the original’s dreamy quality intact, while building the track into a superbly chunky slice of futuristic house music, with abstract melodies dancing over a relentless bassline and beautifully crisp percussion. Just superb.

Australian producer Svjet Lana is a relative newcomer to the scene, but her remix of ‘Bittersweet’ here doesn’t betray that at all. The strongest theme from Marc Poppcke’s original is picked out, and allowed to stand out over a low-slung bassline, before the track becomes a melodic but menacing brew of squelchy melodies and bass growls.

Finally, MUUI revisits ‘This is Just the Beginning’, using the intro as an opportunity to make a bit more of the original’s gorgeous string parts than Midas 104 did on his version. However, the sweetness quickly gives way to another growling bassline, which forms the backbone of the rest of the track. It starts to get a little repetitive for my tastes after a few minutes, but a short breakdown after six and half minutes introduces a more interesting sequence which sees MUUI playing with the track, and the long outro reintroduces the string themes one last time, to devastating effect. Clocking in at 11 minutes, I’m inclined to think that this could have been edited down a bit to good effect, since there are some really great moments here, but they get a little lost.

This is another triumph for Crossfrontier Audio, offering up a set of fantastic new interpretations of some really great tracks from Marc Poppcke. 8.5/10

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