Progressive House Reviews

Rich Curtis and Dark Soul Project – Synesthesia (Slideways)

Rich Curtis & Dark Soul Project

The second release on Tim Penner’s Slideways Music finds Rich Curtis and Dark Soul Project with their first ever studio collaboration entitled ‘Synesthesia’.

Rich Curtis & Dark Soul Project

Slideways launched in October of last year and made a considerable impact with their first release. Andy Arias’ ‘Shouted Novel’ EP not only showcased the best work of the Argentinean’s career but also included two amazing remixes from Hugo Ibarra & Uvo and Stas Drive; the latter of which earned significant praise from Hernan Cattaneo and Nick Warren. It wasn’t going to be easy for Tim and Slideways to top that with their second release but a fresh collaboration from two creative minds alongside remixes from Gai Barone and Dustin Nantais sure looks like it might. 

The solo careers of both Rich Curtis and Dark Soul Project have been marked with many significant moments. Both have appeared on Hernan Cattaneo’s Sudbeat Music along with Baires Records and Proton Music. I’ve always felt that they are two of most creative producers around so to see a collaboration from them is quite exciting, and ‘Synesthesia’ doesn’t disappoint. DSP’s productions are always a bit more tailored for club play while Rich tends to border on the more subversive and less immediate; I’d say we get a cool meld of that here. The track begins with a quirky, electro styled groove which is quickly surrounded by walls of rumbling bass. Pixie-like melodies soon make their way into the mix along with a nice array of granular effects. This carries the track into the main break where the lead motif grows into prominence, only to be washed away in favour of a bed of crunchy breakbeats and sweeping effects. It’s a big moment, one that’s sure generate electricity on the dance floor and also sets up a suitably epic conclusion. Really nice stuff from Rich Curtis and Dark Soul Project.

The first two interpretations of ‘Synesthesia’ are supplied by Gai Barone who is fresh off one of the best remixes of his career. The Italian’s take on Tim Penner & Amber Long’s ‘Everything To Everyone’ was one of Gai’s most emotionally profound works to date and for my money one of the year’s best progressive productions so far. Gai’s ‘Venus’ interpretation is first and definitely gives the track a much meaner and more immediate dance floor vibe. The tough beats have incredible drive which the squelchy stabs complement perfectly. You tend to expect a lot from Gai in the breakdown department and he’s definitely delivered here once again. The menacing rhythms slowly get engulfed by layers of shimmering haze. It casts a radiate glow over the bassy soundscape and is well in line with those magical moments that Gai seems to be so skilled at crafting. Gai’s ‘Son of Duke’ interpretation goes even further into the atmospheric depths and reinvents the lead melodies from the original in spectacular fashion. Again rooted with an array of powerful beats and driving rhythms it comes off almost as large as the previous ‘Venus’ but with a much dreamier sensibility. Can’t go wrong with either version here and they’re already highly sought after since appearing in Gai’s ‘Patterns’ sets.

The third and final interpretation of ‘Synesthesia’ is provided by Dustin Nantais who made huge waves in 2014. The Canadian producer was incredibly prolific adding around 50 new entries to his discography. His work for Paul Hazendonk’s Manual Music and MNL imprints was particularly inspiring and the newly formed Nantais and Hazendonk production project has been delivering bomb after bomb with many more on the way. For his ‘Synesthesia’ interpretation Dustin has gone with a deeper more progressive rework which complements the previous bigger versions quite well. What immediately stands out is the bass line, extremely well shaped and groovy as fuck. It’s elastic-like qualities are pure aural candy and must be murderous on a dance floor. Dustin’s made great use of all the melodic elements as well but in a much less epic manner; more hypnotic and spacey which again adds great variety to the release. Awesome remix from a producer who is definitely set for big things this year. It caps off a brilliant second release for Slideways Music in fine style. Highly Recommended.

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