The latest release on Balkan Connection finds Xplore presenting his new concept album ‘Sector 1’.
Adrian Tanase aka Xplore hails from Romania and began his production career in 2006 on the Pure Substance label. Over the course of the last 10 years Xplore has appeared on variety imprints before eventually calling Balkan Connection home in 2014. ‘Sector 1’ is the first in a series of concept albums which are inspired by sci-fi themes, they explore life in so called ‘sectors’ in space and certainly make for an intriguing LP.
The album begins with ‘Red Tunnel Device’ and immediately you get a feeling for the sci-fi narrative which is about to be explored. The uptempo groove is laced with smooth acid hooks and bright melodic elements. A bevy of key clusters and glowing atmospheric layers soon fill the air and you begin to drift higher. That leads into the equally driving ‘ScyTech Corp’ with more gorgeous melodic themes coming to life. The phasing vocal pads might be the most compelling element though with their subtle hypnotic drift continually drawing you in. Things get a bit funkier with ‘StarRacer Win Anthem’ as the track carries some serious bass stabs and a much choppier sensibility than the previous two cuts. Dynamic stabs pierce the air and before long a large trance lead drops in for an epic moment. The grand nature of those synths does get offset with a pretty rugged groove while the burst of ultrasonic melodies get spaced out nicely. The proceedings move back into driving and wonderfully tripped out territory with ‘Isis’s Eleventh Moon’. Anchored by an electric foundation, a wave of smooth atmospheric motifs and spiralling sonics build seemingly endless momentum, before the icing on the cake comes in the form of a glassy bell creation which makes for a lovely second half.
At the album’s halfway point we are met with ‘Coming Back Home’, another bright and vibrant progressive trancer. The rolling motifs continue here from the previous productions, almost like a well told story. Intertwined key changes and a goosebump inducing breakdown make for a few magic moments and set up the next cut ‘Selti’s Two Suns’ perfectly. A bit more floaty this time with that story board of keys leading the way once more. The 5 minute running keeps it fresh as the journey into deep melodic space continues. The LP’s second last cut ‘Deep Ocean’ goes a touch deeper while still retaining the glimmering melodic charm of all the previous cuts. The main break presents a lovely lead motif amidst the sparkling electronics and warm textures. The lack of build out of the break is nice to avoid the obligatory formula and keeps the smooth, serene vibe intact. The LPs closing piece ‘Stealth Technology’ goes much deeper and rightly so as it ends the release off on a wonderful note. Those distinctive bass stabs reappear one more time and carve out a funk laden foundation for all of the twinkly melodies to work their magic over. This is likely the most heartfelt piece on the collection and perhaps it’s strongest as well. It rounds out a fabulous LP from Xplore in fine style and sets a nice beginning to this concept series from Balkan Connection. Don’t miss it.