The aptly named “Big Bang” EP from Italian underground masters Andrea Cassino and Danny Lloyd under their collaborative moniker “Nocturna“, is Sudbeat’s latest release to hit the digital shelves, and takes us on an excellently crafted journey through varying sounds that’s sure to be a hit amongst the progressive and tech communities.
Nocturna’s Big Bang (Original Mix) has a unique flavour to it, and there are several elements apparent from the get go that really drew me into the track. First and foremost, the use of reverb is superb. Whether it’s a larger, big room reverb with a gate or Cassino and Lloyd just got their decay timing perfect, the trail opens up a certain ambience on the track that particularly allows the percussion to stand out nicely and gives a very spacey feel (similar to Cid Inc.’s production work). Because this works so well with the rhythm, it’s quite enticing to dance to from the onset of the kick onwards. The effects programming in general is excellent, which in tandem with the aforementioned reverb, keep the track interesting and cerebral. All the parts fit in well, and another particularly strong element here are the use of pads, sitting right behind the main groove spacially, to keep a consistent mood all throughout the song’s duration. Mood is the winner here, and everything shines collectively well because the vibe stays focused on it. My final favourite little element is the LFO programmed leadish synth that appears in the breakdown: a touch of progressive techno in an otherwise progressive house song that gives just a little tinge of genre variation creating a nice interesting turn to keep things cooking. Nice work from Lloyd and Cassino.
Hernan Cattaneo and Soundexile continue with the heavily progressive sentiments from the first but add their own tech-influenced flavor with a focus on heavier percussive elements and synth one shots as opposed to the full-on riffs seen in the original. The wide, open percussion, with a heavy swing on the programming, add a slightly offset feel that gives a nice organic, human effect to the track’s groove. The rolling bassline, serving mostly as a platform of movement while the rest of the grooves do their job, is just what was needed to give the mid range elements the emphasis they deserved, as that’s where the magic is. A well thought-out piece of work and a nice combination of techy and progressive flavour from the Argentinians here.
Graziano Raffa goes for a techier, deep feel which instantly highlights it as different from the rest of the pack. Employing some retro-sounding synth work, a lot of diverse percussion, and a solid, dominant kick give this a very deep house vibe, yet Raffa’s use of the trippier background pads and spacey fx reminiscent of the original underline a fundamentally progressive mood. Interesting combination we see here, and I for one think it conveys itself quite well. Raffa keeps it interesting by employing different percussive grooves and variations to them throughout the track, and the addition of a dramatic, tension ridden buildup during the break creates a great anticipatory movement that is left fully satisfied with the return of the beat upon it’s climax. Another solid redefinition that will surely appeal to those looking for a deeper flavor built upon the original’s premise.
Microcosmos, the final track on the EP and another original from Nocturna, once again lead us on an interesting, deep progressive journey. Once again, the pads and ambient effects are excellently placed in creating an ambient, dark mood that provide the premise to the track. The low-mid bass riff also once again gives a tinge of a darker progressive techno side, something fans of Lloyd will be instantly familiar with, and the melodic riffs that filter in and out of the track are excellent in highlighting the premise of the track: mood. An enjoyable track that will fit well with DJs looking to add some darker emotion to their sets, and surely a fine way to finish off such a strong EP.
Nocturna is a winning combination collaboratively speaking: these artists have together found a sonic maturity that is perfectly fit for the modern, cutting edge progressive sound. With Cattaneo, Raffa, and Soundexile, the stalwarts of the Sudbeat team, providing the remixing support, you simply can’t go wrong with any of the tracks featured in this release. A+ work all around.