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Various Artists – Digital Rain (Agara Music)

There are a lot of things to love about Agara Music. Aside from excellent A&R choices and a well spaced release schedule the labels artwork is quickly becoming one of my favourites in the industry. In a sea of digital labels you really need to take steps to standout from the rest and Agara certainly does that from all angles. This week sees the imprint releasing their second compilation entitled ‘Digital Rain’ which features 7 exclusive tracks from: Beat Syndrome, Erreome, AMAN, Roberto Traista, Serge Qz, S:sko and Mason Bach & OPL.

Agara’s last compilation ‘Friends Around the World’ was quite special and showcased the labels broad A&R policies perfectly. ‘Digital Rain’ goes for a more techno inspired, dance floor approach as all seven cuts included here are deserving of club play. Beat Syndrome’s ‘Migration’ is the collection’s first track and sets the techno inspired vibes of the entire release right away. I would say this is Beat Syndrome’s most tracky sounding production to date and it definitely shows his reach as a producer. The wobbly foundation is not only great for the dance floor but has a rough character that adds immensely to the shape of the groove. The brooding nature of the composition is something that builds throughout as the many atmospheric subtleties and melodic themes get expertly weaved in. The second half is particularly brilliant with the dark and dreary vibes slowly transforming into something much more emotional and heartfelt. It’s not necessarily something you expect from Beat Syndrome and he’s pulled it off remarkably well, a great track to kick off the collection and one of its standout selections in my opinion.

Another standout on the collection comes from AMAN who has been really hot (as they say) of late. He’s appeared on Agara Music in the past with his excellent ‘Tears of the Lotus’ single and he’s also released the dreamy ‘Cosmic Jungle’ on Sound Avenue’s 3rd Avenue offshoot just last week. AMAN’s track here ‘Stranger’ finds the Singapore based producer with an atmospheric techno composition which is very strong. Filled with bubbly acid lines, scattered claps and unique rhythms the overall groove that AMAN has created here is very powerful. Add to that a great complement of hypnotic elements and what you end up with is one of AMAN’s most unique and intriguing productions to date. Well done!

Robert Traista, Serge Qz and S:sko all contribute very strong tracks over the collections second half as well. I’m particularly fond of Serge Qz’s ‘The System’ which has a cool sequence of glassy keys and a refined groove which makes for a very contemporary sounding piece overall. The other standout for me though is the collection’s last track from Mason Bach and OPL. The Canadian duo’s ‘Housecoats’ closes the release off with a proper techno vibe. It’s an extraordinarily well produced track with the sound design really being something to marvel at. The beats sound as if they are coated with titanium and the intricate electronics which are interlaced throughout the production are polished to perfection. The warped rhythms are a real delight as well and should be absolutely menacing in a dark room. Great to see these two Canadian’s getting showcased here and props to Agara Music for always supporting local talent.

Many people feel that the vast majority of electronic music nowadays is uninspired and not overly unique. Agara however seems to smash this notion down with each successive release. ‘Digital Rain’ is full of cutting edge music. You really get a distinct sense that the producers involved here are trying to break the mold and create something exceptional. It’s inspiring and it boils down to label A&R Travis MacDonald sourcing this stuff out which is no easy task. This is a very solid collection that Travis has put together here and he continues to impress with his exciting A&R choices. Highly Recommended.

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