Pro-B Tech is back with a large, content-packed EP that right off-the-bat catches your attention. Aside from the heavy hitting remixers on the project with the likes of Kastias Torrau, Arnas D, and Andrea Sobota, those of you familiar with the glory days of trance and harder-style sounds will recognize the underground duo TILT with a return to Pro-B and a different sound than what you’d normally expect from the duo.
TILT’s Original track here, entitled “The Hurt,” is an interesting combination of moody, fun, and dark. It has an unmistakably underground vibe to it, and in particular with the hi-hats, you get a real gritty feel for the sound that the artists were originally identified with. In fact there’s quite a few intelligent references to the sound from that late 90s, early 2000s style, and “The Hurt” does well at placing them appropriately while not sounding too dated.
I’m generally not into deeper, housier vocals on progressive tracks, as I usually feel they are somewhat out of place with the minor melodic undertones that often accompany the genre (although there are always exceptions), so between the Original and Dub mixes from TILT, the “Back to Dark Dub” definitely sat better with me.
In this version, the artists reworked the elements, minus the vocal interlude from the original, into an exclusively instrument-oriented track. I enjoyed getting a chance to really appreciate the riffs and melody lines the original had to offer, and I also appreciated that this Dub was not just the same arrangement minus the vocals: it has it’s own flavor, which is what every dub should have. You can definitely hear the tinge of the trance tradition TILT is so well known for from the overall production of these 2 tracks. The melodies harken back to the time when simple stabs that followed a catchy riff in a basic 1 scale note progression could carry an entire song, and this is very reminiscent of that philosophy. Finally, the acid homages were definitely a nice touch.
The real winners in the package for me however were with the Andre Sobota Dub and the Kastis Torrau & Arnas D Remix. Anybody who listens to these talents knows they are the cream of the crop of the pure and deep progressive world right now. Sobota has been on fire since early 2013, and is one of the handful of artists who’s sounds were so inarguably good that he was able to crossover into the Anjunadeep mainstream market while still maintaining his stylistic integrity (anyone can tell you, that’s no small accomplishment). Kastis Torrau & Arnas D have been on top of their game as well: their remix for Darin Epsilon’s Cosmic Discovery was one of my top 10 of 2013, and everything they’ve touched in 2014 has been intelligent and sophisticated.
Sobota’s Dub Mix, which is the instrumental version to his vocal remix for the EP, has a beautifully fresh feel to it. It’s from the start high energy, which is typical to his style, and it incorporates some ethereal, beautiful ensemble sounds that really give the whole track such a warm timbre. The muted guitars on the downbeat, the eerie string and vox pads, and the occasional horn bursts give a full-on orchestral feel to the mix, and never once does it really stop being “cool.” It’s easy to understand why Andre is able to garner such wide appeal: there’s something in this mix for everyone. Kind of like Muse’s version of rock and roll, Sobota is able to create deep and meaningful house music with tracks like these that incorporate such a diverse set of sounds with such a vibrant gusto that anyone who appreciates music in general can kind find something tasteful about his sound.
Kastis Torrau & Arnas D go for a straight progressive banger with their remix. This is the kind of no bullshit sound any true prog head will really bang their head to: in-your-face, groovy bass, a heavy thumping kick, and techy percussion that just makes you want to bob your head. They make good use of the samples from the original here, mostly by infusing more energy in them. As always, the pads and atmospheres are brilliant and appropriate, and one thing I’ve always enjoyed about these guys is that they have a great sixth sense about not overkilling any one element. Everything gets it proper time, and nothing is too drawn out. While the vocals do sound a bit out of element given they have such a traditional/deep house feel to them, Kastis Torrau & Arnas D for sure made good use of what they were given by building such a catchy frame behind them that they do flow well rhythmically with the underlying groove of the track. Solid work overall from the Lithuanian team.
The package includes another 2 remixes, courtesy of Daniel Brooke and TR20, which also add their own touch to the track. While these two were not so much my style personally, they are worth checking out, and have a much more downtempo flavor to them.
All in all, Pro-B has built a solid package out of this original, and this is primarily in credit to Andre Sobota, Kastis Torrau & Arnas D. With all the content they released on this EP, it might have been preferable to hone in 1-2 remixes and a solid original, as there is a lot of content from a diverse group here in front of you, but nonetheless, the backing of some seriously talented remixers made this definitely worth the listen.