Urban Chameleon – Sociopath (3rd Avenue)

One of our favourite 3rd Avenue releases was undoubtedly the last one. Max Cue’s remix of Dmitry Molosh ‘Tranquility’ has been on regular rotation in our office playlist for weeks and it might be one of the best remixes this year. This week sees 3rd Avenue returning for their 19th overall release and what looks to be another well put together offering. It finds Urban Chameleon making his debut on the label. The Romanian producer got his start when he appeared on Sangria’s first ever label compilation in September of 2012. He followed that with three releases on Stellar Fountain over the course of 2013 which have been quite cool as well. His first single (entitled Sociopath) for 3rd Avenue looks to be his most promising work to date and with two top interpretations from Loquai and Napalm & d-phrag it looks like 3rd Avenue is finishing off 2013 on a very strong note.

The ‘Sociopath’ original is a wonderful hypnotic construction. The hazy atmospheric backdrop is where it all starts. The buzzing energy it creates is subtle but when combined with the tough framework and driving rhythms is quite palatable. The main break showcases a simple but effective series of shimmering chord changes as the distinctive rhythms slowly build tension. The smooth climax is remarkably contemporary and sets the track off for a floating finale that is emotionally uplifting and still tough enough for peak time play.

The first remix is provided by long time favourite Loquai who is making his second appearance on 3rd Avenue. A long time staple of the progressive house underground Konstantin Alt aka Loquai has continued to push his ever changing sound forward. The Russian born but now Germany based producer has spent 2013 crafting a much deeper and more thought provoking brand of electronic music. The deep grooves with progressive sensibilities have taken his sound to some new imprints including Bonzai, Green Martian, Proton’s Particles and of course 3rd Avenue. Loquai’s ‘Sociopath’ remix is absolutely outstanding. He’s managed to take the more linear and hypnotic sounding original and transform it into something with a lot of funk and groove. The shimmering brilliance of the original is well maintained but it’s done in a much more subtle way which really keeps the focus on Loquai’s meticulously crafted grooves. Brilliant work from Loquai.

Closing the release out are the much hyped duo of Napalm & d-phrag who are making their first appearance on 3rd Avenue. As 2013 began the duo seemed to be focusing on a bigger more traditional progressive sound but fast forward 12 months and things have changed just a touch. Deeper grooves, cool hypnotic rhythms and a distinctly richer more textured sound seems to be coming from Naplam & d-phrag’s studio. They’ve done a fine job on their ‘Sociopath’ remix which certainly rivals Loquai’s for our favourite version on the package. Oddly enough one of the most impressive things about the mix is it’s running time. Napalm & d-phrag always seem to keep things short and to the point and thus avoid the sometimes long, drawn out and very unnecessary lengths of the more traditional progressive house productions. It’ll be very interesting to see where Napalm & d-phrag take things in 2014 cause we have a feeling something special may be on the horizon from this duo. An all round great package from 3rd Avenue with each selection really standing out.

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