Vorbis – Hemisphere (Balkan Connection)

The 280th release on Balkan Connection is out this week and it features the return of an exciting artist alias. Chris Johnson and Joh Jackson hail from the UK and make up the Vorbis production duo. Chris and Joh first began collaborating under the Vorbis alias back in 2006 but decided to pause the project to further concentrate on learning music theory and production. Chris has remained active however and is well known in the electronic music underground for his releases on Axon and Lowbit. Now back in the studio again Vorbis are set to unveil their debut EP entitled ‘Hemisphere’ which includes remixes from Ewan Rill and Alex Villanueva.

The title cut leads the EP off with a very contemporary tech house sound. I know this will most likely get categorized as Prog House but the spacious, tracky nature of it might suggest otherwise. Regardless of what it’s categorized as the track is extremely strong. The intricate groove has a nice punch and a wonderfully smooth energy to boot. The playful melodic elements dance about as several hypnotic themes weave their way in and out of the framework. It’s one of those records that doesn’t try to do too much. There are a bevy of great ideas here and it would have been easy to turn this into a massive sounding track but Chris and Joh have done a great job at keeping the contemporary vibes throughout. Hernan Cattaneo is also a fan as the legendary DJ has already featured the track on his Resident Delta FM radioshow.

The lone remix of ‘Hemisphere’ comes from Ewan Rill who has been on fire of late. The Russian producer lit up our Hype Charts with his recent remix on Sleepless Nights and he’s turned in a great version of ‘Hemisphere’ here. Ewan has beefed the production up considerably and it proves to be the ideal complement to Vorbis’ more delicate sounding original. The chugging grooves are perfect for the dance floor and when throw in some well timed acid bits and a heavenly breakdown you’ve got the perfect progressive house interpretation. Well done Ewan!

The second original included on the release ‘Lyke’ offers a deeper, more laid approach which just adds more variety to the package. There are some rainy day vibes here for sure with the aquatic sounding keys and soft rhythmic tones. This is one of those tracks that will sound at great in a club or your living room on a Sunday afternoon. It’s a classy sounding production and it certainly makes me want to hear more from Vorbis asap.

The lone remix of ‘Lyke’ comes from Alex Villanueva who is making his fourth appearance on Balkan Connection. Alex is one of the brightest up and coming stars in his country along with Hugo Ibarra and Uvo. In addition to his previous appearances on Balkan Connection the Mexican producer has delivered excellent work for 3rd Avenue, Clinique, Crossfade Sounds and Baroque Records. Alex’s ‘Lyke’ interpretation does a great job at transforming the key elements into something new and fresh without losing the great vibes from the original. The second half is particularly brilliant with the layers of bubbly melodies, soft textural tones and waves of percussion all coming together for a classy climax. I’d say it’s one of Alex’s most mature and contemporary sounding productions to date and it rounds out a really great release on Balkan Connection. Looking forward to more new material from Vorbis. Highly Recommended.

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