The latest release on Nikko.Z’s Dopamine Music finds the label showcasing the second edition of its VAC compilation series.

VA - VAC002 (Dopamine Music)

Released in December of 2013 the first installment of the series was a huge success, showcasing 20 carefully selected tracks from the likes of Michael A, Simos Tagias, Namatjira and more. Fast forward two years and we find Dopamine Music presenting the second edition of the VAC series which features new music from (in order of appearance) Internal Deep, GMJ, Some Little Things, Monojoke, Simos Tagias, Anthony Yarranton, Nikko.Z and Owersound. 

The release begins by welcoming Internal Deep to the label. The Ukrainian artist is a fresh new talent with a flair for all things deep and groovy. His latest ‘After Black Strips’ features a well contoured foundation, emanating warmth and seductive shape. Luminous textures and soft tonal themes make for a smooth and melancholic journey which is highlighted by an emotive break that’s sure to raise a goosebump or two. 

The compilations second selection comes from GMJ who is making his first appearance on the label. The Australian producer has been hotly tipped this year with a long line of impressive productions. GMJ has a sound all his own and he’s one of a few producers keeping intelligent progressive music alive and flourishing. Each and every production comes with a compelling story and his latest ‘Hold To Nothing’ is no exception. Backed by a punchy kick and gargantuan bass swells, GMJ slowly works his sonic magic with several unique narratives throughout the track. From its panning lead to a shimmering overlay and heartfelt pads there are a bevy of magic moments locked in this one and it carries more than enough oomph for the dance floor.

The compilations third selection finds Some Little Things returning to the label for their second appearance. Hailing from Argentina, Leandro Moyano & Matias Medina make up the Some Little Things production duo. They’ve delighted deep progressive fans all through 2015 with releases on Sudbeat Music and Hope Recordings. Their contribution to VAC Vol. 2 is the dreamy, tripped out ‘Gogo Ending’. The duos deep and laid back approach to progressive music is delightful and all of their much loved hallmarks are on display here. From its warm, chunky groove to luminous textures and bubbly synth motifs there are a bevy of designs to get lost in. A storyboard of effects carries the journey, building subtle tension and ultimately culminating with a gorgeous melodic lead in the third act. 

Next up is Monojoke who much like Some Little Things has had a breakout year. The Polish producer earned chart and club support from Guy J all though the summer season and 2016 holds even greater promise. Here we see Monojoke showcase his rugged yet emotive progressive style with ‘Zero Gravity’. From its percussive beginnings, to its funky grooves to its hazy harmonic refrains there is a lot to like here. What steals the show though is a breakdown of intricate electronics and perfectly contoured effects, which meld together with a gorgeous melodic lead resulting in a blissful moment and gorgeous finale.

Greek artist Simos Tagias is no stranger to Dopamine Music having appeared on the label three previous times. His groovy percussive sound has struck a chord with Cid Inc., who not only routinely supports his productions but has also featured his work on Replug Records. Simos’ contribution to the VA collection is entitled ‘Far Away’ and might be some of his finest work to date. Anchored by a chunky, spacious groove; the piece picks up momentum as Simos expertly incorporates rhythmic elements and indistinct vocal stabs. Now building a main motif, melodic synths carry the track into a stripped down second act, as additional tonal themes light up the framework, ultimately setting up a gorgeous conclusion of heavenly soundscapes and beautifully textured harmonies. 

The compilations sixth selection finds Anthony Yarranton returning to the label for his fourth appearance. The UK producer has continued his strong production ways this year with a good portion of his output being released on Axon Records where he has certainly found a comfortable home. Releases on Asymmetric Recordings, Golden Wings Music and Sound Avenue have highlighted the year’s second half and now with 2015 winding to a close Anthony presents his latest studio production ‘Aldebaran’. The UK producer’s deep, fluid style is on point once again with a series of tonal themes and vocal storyboards leading the way. A series of acid-like hooks lock the groove down further as waves of percussion push the track to smooth yet exhilarating conclusion. 

Next up Dopamine Music label boss Nikko.Z makes a welcome appearance on his home imprint with ‘Nazca’. The Greek producer continues to be one of his country’s top electronic music talents with appearances on Sudbeat Music and Proton Music highlighting his discography. With ‘Nazca’ we find Nikko exploring the more techno inspired side of his studio repertoire. Beginning with offset bass tones and clusters of rhythmic elements it doesn’t take long for the hypnotic effect of its groove to win you over. It’s mesmerizing appeal grows to an invigorating climax, as emotive pads descend over the perfectly contoured framework, initiating the main break and ultimately a great finale. 

The collection concludes with a fresh new talent under the alias of Owersound’. The Russian producer having just one previous release looks to be one of the more talked about new artists in 2016. His contribution here is entitled ‘Eternal Sunshine’ and showcases his melodic progressive sound wonderfully. The Russian’s warm, round beats, angelic pads and gorgeous harmonies set the track in motion. It flows with an effortless ease to the break where the celestial elements shine and deliver one of the collections most heartfelt moments. A gorgeous track from a name you’re going to be hearing a lot about in the future and a great way to end off another exceptional release on Dopamine Music. 

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  • Mitch Alexander
    Mitch Alexander

    WRITER @ C-U

    Mitch Alexander is the owner of microCastle | Beatport "One of the most influential, tastemaker labels out there and also part of our genre committee."