Progressive House Reviews

Simon Firth – Stress Test (Juicebox Music)

Praveen Achary’s Juicebox Music returns this week for the label’s third overall release. The last one from Dio S. featured what we feel was the Greek producers best production to date and a remix from future star Rodrigo Mateo. The finest labels always seem to get the absolute best work from their artists and that’s what Juicebox has been accomplishing so far. The newest offering ‘Stress Test’ comes from UK producer Simon Firth and includes two remixes from: Rikesto and MEka.

Simon came up though the progressive house underground over the course of 2011 -2012 where the UK producer was incredibly prolific. Simon racked up over 125 releases in a two year span and his studio chops increased mightily as a result. ‘Stress Test’ is probably the best we’ve heard from Simon thus far in his career. With it’s cool vocal gates, soft muted tones and gradually building harmonic content it certainly has a lot to offer. What we love about it though is the effortless sounding way it works through all its primary ideas. Seamless flow to a middle section with funky hooks and nice harmonic complements leads to a more atmospheric, hazy sounding third act which closes the record out with a great all round vibe. Classy stuff from Simon.

The first remix is supplied by Rikesto who first came to our attention when he was announced as one of the finalists in the Guy J ‘Azimuth’ remix contest. The Columbian producer ‘s driving atmospheric interpretation caught the attention of Guy J and was also played by Hernan Cattaneo. Appearances on Dopamine, Balkan Connection and Armada have solidified Rikesto as one of the most talented up and comers from Columbia. Rikesto’s ‘Stress Test’ interpretation brings a decidedly techier vibe which complements Simon’s warm house version very well. The Columbian producer’s tough beats and rolling rhythms get a wicked peak time groove going. The hypnotic content is perfect here as well with soft rhythmic tones and glacial sounding synths adding huge momentum to the driving groove. The gaseous breakdown in the records third act proves to be the perfect release of tension to transition into a DJ friendly conclusion.

The final remix on the package comes from a producer that we are delighted to see once again. When we first heard MEka’s ‘La Pensee Du Jour’ release on Seb Dhajje’s Tetsuko label we were blown away. The French producers incredibly organic and pixie like melodic sound was instantly refreshing and we’ve been dying to hear more new material from him. Well his ‘Stress Test’ remix has certainly been well worth the wait. Much like his MEka’s previous work this comes with a uniquely pure and ethereal quality which is just a real pleasure to listen too. The tasteful melodic elements are emotionally gripping and with it being set on top of a contemporary sounding foundation it’s perfect for today dance floors . Outstanding work from MEka and we can’t wait to hear more from this talented French producer. If Juicebox Music isn’t at the top of your best new labels list then you are really missing something. Highly Recommended. Release Promo Hype Chart Top 25

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