Robert R. Hardy’s long awaited debut album is here courtesy of the newly formed Soul Art Recordings.
For an artist that has more than 750 production credits to his name it’s safe to say that an album from Robert is long overdue. The Hungarian producer came up from his D.M.P alias and over the last two years and has become a favourite of Hernan Cattaneo, where his music has found a place in the charts and sets of the storied DJ. Guy J too has chimed in with support and he’s also become a staple in Beatport’s Progressive House charts. Now after much talk of an impending album over the last year Robert finally unveils his ten track opus entitled ‘Changes’ via Soul Art Recordings.
An album is a daunting task for any artist and after as many productions as Robert has racked up I would imagine even more so. It’s safe to say he’s kept some of his best work under lock and key for ‘Changes’ and it begins the haunting ‘Omnia’. For an LP which is a straight club collection this seems like the ideal piece to start it off. Smooth, emotive and irresistibly warm, it’s an inviting mood and immerses you in the journey straight away. The ethereal vocals are perhaps the most distinctive element and certainly something which will stick with you for a long while. This leads into ‘Wanderer’ where the tempo shifts up slightly and the atmosphere becomes all the more intoxicating. There’s very much a Lost & Found type vibe running through this and you tend to think that may be the focus of the album but the next cut ‘Caelestibus’ puts all that to rest. It’s acidic funk and trippy nature is immediately appealing and also a welcome detour into newfound territory. ‘Consequences’ meanwhile comes with a bit more of a techno inspired framework but the surrounding elements are grandiose to say the least. This is particularly evident in the track’s centrepiece which is filled with epic swells and orchestral overtones. There are a wealth of goosebump moments this album has to offer and this is likely one of the finest. Now fully immersed in the journey track 5 entitled ‘Elements’ once again comes with some very distinctive parts and a light melodic motif as well. Very much a cross between something Guy J or Lee Burridge might play, and rightly so as it’s dreamy qualities make you wish the track just played on an endless loop for hours.
The half way point of the LP brings a fuller, more pure progressive sound with ‘Persecuted’ and this is where you really start flying. Backed by a huge, rolling groove it sets a big party vibe almost immediately. Infectious rhythms and electric stabs only further its appeal while the main break strips down just enough not lose that great energy and still deliver a large payoff. One of the album’s monsters no doubt. Coming in at the same 122 BPM tempo ‘Identity’ continues the driving stream of consciousnesses created by ‘Persecuted’. The feel is a touch deeper here and perhaps more heady with less distinct elements leading the charge. Quite ethereal once again and very much in line with what Guy J is playing at the moment. The album nears its apex with ‘Legendary Moments’; a darker, rougher creation that has all the makings of a peak time bomb. Crisp drum work, trailing gates and a rolling rhythmic core make it a shoe in for dance floor devastation. Easily the most menacing piece on the collection and one you’re likely to be hearing a lot in the coming months. The intensity does not let up as we reach the album’s title cut ‘Changes’. The tempo shifts up slightly and it’s rough low end brings all the swing you could ever want. Airy motifs open the framework up as Robert’s powerful drums push the momentum forward to the main break. Delightfully funky, yet still emotive the second act perhaps sums up the entire album in a way, for it is the progressive sound of now and Robert has his finger firmly on its pulse. You’d expect an emotive and deeply moving final piece to round out such an expansive collection of dance floor bombs and ‘I’ve Benn Losing My Memory’ more than delivers. The sweeping, sundrenched melodies which flow through the break lead perfectly into warm, fluid breakbeats and a foundation of poignant swells. It’s not something you hear a lot these days and makes this collection all the more timeless as a result. Robert certainly brought his A-game and then some on this album, several of these would not have sounded out of place on some of the genres premiere imprints and no doubt the best is yet to come. If you’re a fan of progressive music then there’s no reason not have this entire album in your collection. Highly Recommended.