Strange Town Recordings kicks off 2017 with a much anticipated single from Wade Bennett.
The UK artist is making his second appearance on the Canadian imprint which follows an excellent remix of PHM from 2012. More recently Wade returned to the spotlight after a lengthy hiatus with a remix for Pete Callard on Det Sync to close out 2016. Now unveiling his first new original music in almost six years, Wade presents ‘Varial’ alongside remixes from Criss Source and Philip James de Vries.
Wade’s productions were always excellent many years ago when he was one of the underground’s household names but it’s quite clear he’s done some significant retooling during his time away. ‘Varial’ is distinctly modern without a hint of looking back at all. Layered beats, a rugged groove and a myriad of trippy electronics set an ominous yet electric tone. There’s a great character in the design, a touch grainy and rough which is really appealing in a era where soulless beats are still hanging around. The effects storyboarding is what makes the track though, void of any big moments it’s the evolution here which keeps your attention locked. A wonderful production and a great return for Wade.
Both remixes are great as well in that they take the track somewhere quite different rather than just sounding like bootlegs mixes. First up Criss Source makes his label debut following a 2016 which included releases on Balkan Connection and Iboga Records. Known for his tightly constructed progressive techno crossover style the German artist takes ‘Varial’ into more straight forward and thus dance floor friendly territory. A chugging foundation and strong rhythmic core make it immediately appealing while phasing synths give it a smooth mesmerising quality which is quite nice. Two breaks, although brief do bring more emotive moments, breaking up the dramatic tension for a really cool six minute journey. Great remix from Criss.
The release concludes with Philip James de Vries returning to the label for his second appearance. The Montreal based artist last appeared on the Canadian imprint with his ‘This Month Only’ single from November of 2015. I’ve followed Philip’s music for years, since his releases on Wide Angle Recordings dating back to 2012 and I’d say he’s easily one of Canada’s most underappreciated electronic music artists. Now the Temparc Music boss gets 2017 off to a great start with a very inspired interpretation to close the release out. Working in varying realms of electronica Philip’s music is both highly creative and deeply emotional which gets showcased here once again. Radically revamped, the piece moves through melancholic swells, quirky rhythms and wistful motifs with an effortless ease. Definitely my favourite version on the release and perhaps one of Philip’s best ever remixes. A fitting end to a superb release on Strange Town Recordings to begin the year. Highly Recommended.