Progressive House Reviews

Navid Mehr – Sacred Circles/Cuma (CHANGE AUDIO)

Navid Mehr burst onto the scene late last year with an amazing Cattaneo-supported track on CHANGE AUDIO’s ‘Potential’ compilation, and an EP for the label in November that wound up being one my personal favourites of 2013. Fast-forward to the here and now, and Navid Mehr is back with two new tracks for CHANGE, ‘Sacred Circles’ and ‘Cuma’. Remixes come from progressive legend Pole Folder, and from one of the hottest producers to emerge in the last couple of years, Bristol–based man-of-mystery Dubspeeka.

‘Sacred Circles’ immediately builds the kind of spacious techno sound we heard Navid Mehr showcase on last year’s ‘No Ego’, with airy pads rising over a punishing bassline. A quick breakdown sees the track start to mess with your head, spinning acid lines and the track’s central rotating hook each pursing their own agenda before the hook and the bassline play off each other in the climb towards the main breakdown. Here Navid Mehr distorts the listener’s sense of time again, but this time around he bathes everything in serene melodies, giving a moment of light before the track gets back down to business.

Nearly a decade and a half since I first heard ‘Apollo Vibes’, Pole Folder remains one of my very favourite producers. And he’s been on a real roll recently, with his remix of Sound Process’s ‘The Unthinkable’ providing one of the highlights of the closing days of 2013 and his remix of Mindaugas Jak’s ‘Persona’ offering one of the standout moments of 2014 so far. His ‘Raven Drums’ remix of ‘Sacred Circles’ continues this run, pitching sparse bass tones, police sirens, and rich percussion against his trademark melancholy, achingly beautiful melodies. After a brief breakdown, the bassline takes the lead, forging ahead with a chord progression that really complements the other melodic elements of the track, while the closing minutes introduce some subtle guitar work. This is absolutely wonderful, as we’ve come to expect from Pole Folder.

‘Cuma’ is the second original by Navid Mehr, and my favourite of the two. The initial build is similar to the other track, but the breakdown introduces utterly gorgeous chimes, which play out over David Lynch’s distorted, trippy vision of consciousness and give a shimmering counterpart to the unrelenting bass as the track picks back up. This is seriously lovely stuff from Navid Mehr.

Following up releases on the likes of Bedrock, Hope, Ideal Audio, and Darkroom Dubs, Dubspeeka turns in the remix of ‘Cuma’. He keeps quite close to the original, but gets the melodies on the table much more quickly, and he adds his own warmer melodic ideas into the track to really good effect. The result is a subtle but dreamy and atmospheric interpretation of Navid Mehr’s track that nicely picks up some of the original’s strongest ideas while giving it a distinctive twist, turning it into a superb mood-setter.

Navid Mehr’s knack for combining pounding grooves with really compelling hooks and melodic ideas is on show on both these tracks, though as I’ve said, ‘Cuma’ appealed to me slightly more. Pole Folder and Dubspeeka both work wonders on the remixes, with the former really pushing ‘Sacred Circles’ to new heights, and providing the highlight of the package in the process. 9/10

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