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Audri - Tappo di Ferro (OPIA Records, 2020)

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

The latest offering from the excellent OPIA Records imprint sees Italian producer Audri step up with a stunning meander through sultry techno beats and gorgeous house leaning environments.

To be brave and daring is something that always leads to great results in dance music, and when paired with a vision that spans for miles, a series of excellent releases will always follow. The threads that begin right at the very start form roots and foundations which spread forwards in time, to consolidate the base from which all else will follow in a discography, a sound forged in the idealism of commencement before transitioning through into record upon record. The producers who look to continually evolve their formula, be it through subtle variations and deviations or simply looking to explore further on the core aspects that persist so prominently within their music, starts to unravel a narrative that opens up before our eyes. By exploring around the key features of their music, producers often delve very much into the comings and goings associated with it, and as a result forge an unbelievably strong identity that sets them out from the rest, a sound that through dedication and passion has become their own. By understanding their main drivers, these producers can continually expand their universe, adding in new and exciting variables which make the pool of engagement just that little bit deeper, the intrigue that carries along that little bit more. Its exciting to see these little steps take place, the bridges between releases tied together by the connections that remain continually strengthened by the constant renewal and reconsiderations, the layers on top that add further to the character of the producer and the feels they look to portray. Particularly within the realms of house and techno, those who stand out remain the music makers who are willing to fully commit to the ideals of continuous evolution, of fully delving deep within the raw potential of their sound, to boldly explore and delve high and low in a search that remains never ending. To conjure up new realities and concepts, to push genres forward, there needs to be this vanguard of producers who push the boat out a little bit, demonstrating a willingness to think outside the box, to express new things, to push the genre forward just that little bit further.

One of these emboldened and cutting edge producers really doing a number on our pre conceptions of house and techno is Italian producer Adriano Sorrentino, who releases music primarily under the name Audri. Alongside being a resident DJ for OPIA Records nights, and running his own imprint, DEMUT, Sorrentino has really carved out a place for himself as a producer in the contemporary dance music landscape, with his records delving right to the heart of what we all hold dear when it comes to house and techno, but with a hefty dosage of his own character thrown in there which lands with maximum impact. A style born from a clear respect and adoration for sonics and their capabilities, with the melodic features found within his music moving gracefully between muted and bold, a feel that covers the morphing nature of his music. Alongside his majestic blending abilities, the technicals that shine through in his music is hard to ignore, with beautifully composed tracks which showcase a real oneness with the tools at his disposal, as drumming patterns and melodic frequencies get pushed to their limits both creatively and sonically. The dynamic interface that exists both from the man himself and the results which flow from his finger tips help to craft real spellbinding EPs which continue to join threads and feels together so effortlessly, with each release building onwards and upwards from previous outings in the most organic and intriguing ways imaginable. The narrative that prevails is one of continual evolution, a morphing sound that expands and contracts to draw focus or to provide as wide a scope as possible, with the end product always one to really get your teeth into. In his relatively new but very sweet discography, Sorrentino has nurtured his own take on the defining features of house and techno, with the emphasis placed very much on exquisite clean cut beats and well placed melodic features, with tracks often taking listeners off to new realms and back again, all within a 5 minute window. Looking back through his works, we start off with the superb techno laden vibes that radiate his debut offering, the 'Coming to Reality' record, which arrived in 2016; the deep and evocative tones found within the 'House Delight' record, that landed in 2017; and finally, the technologic excursions which shine and dazzle on the 'We R All Youman' EP, that arrived last year. He also contributed tracks to the 'Elektropia' (2018) and 'Lyla's World' (2019) OPIA Records compilations, in the form of the technologic cosmic laden 'Cyclick' and the proper mind melting acid leaning 'Acid Rain' cut, both of which demonstrate his wide ranging musical interests and broad scope to crafting tunes. All in all, Sorrentino has done much to widen his horizons enormously, and via a continually refreshing approach to production has done wonders to inspire and conceptualise in his music, so that we now associate him with being able to work up something slightly new and intriguing every single time. His style all encompassing, his vision one that remains intrinsically his, and musical concepts that shift and morph through time and space. We highly recommend you going back and discovering it all for yourself, trust us, you will not be disappointed.

So now, we arrive at his latest offering, a 5 tracker that lands on his home away from home, OPIA Records, in the form of the 'Tappo di Ferro' EP, which feels very much like an accumulation of all his outputs to date. Like we come to expect with his productions, there is a really sublime feel that runs right through each cut, with such dynamism and progression applied to every single second that passes us by. At times intently deep, at other moments percussively explosive, and throughout there is always the element of surprise hanging around every corner, as Sorrentino really pushes his visions of house and techno to familiar but very much expanded realms. The framework is set, the parameters there to be challenged and moved, the fluidity as strong as ever, the melodic features really fleshed out to the max, as we ease through a collection of tracks that will surely become a real landmark in his production career in the future. A cornerstone of his outputs, a pinnacle of his sound, a piece of wax that is well and truly up there with some of the years best. So, lets take a little dip.

Up first comes 'Background Radiation', and things begin in fairly uptempo but subtle surroundings. The kicks provide the base as swirling bass keys occupy the spaces between, with the cymbals and hi hat line starting to emerge from within the matrix of sound, with a high line hat adding a extra level of dynamism to proceedings. Before long, we are joined by the long solid chord progression, that switches between two chords to maximum effect, the tone perfectly embracing the excellent drumming patterns, with an additional climbing key line adding further to the emotive feel of the track. This additional key line signals the drums to continue to add to their depth, as techno tinged kicks and abounding percussive elements start to emerge from within the framework of the track. The melodic features fall away for a moment, giving the drums time to breathe and really hit their point home, which then sets up the introduction of further melodic elements all the more sweeter, as a hard hitting key line then descends into the cut, floating on top with all the grace in the world, as all the other features then flock to its side to craft that climax we all needed, before the track deconstructs itself and flows through varying structures and tones before petering out into the night, content in its blissful journey through the dance. An excellent start. Up next comes 'IHR Lied', and this one begins in a very futurism inspired place indeed. The swirling arpeggio sequence of keys gets the ball rolling in regard to feel and tone, setting up the environment of the track excellently, as the chord progression rises high and wide behind, crafting an intriguing dynamic between the two as we move forward with the drumming patterns. The drums have sublty been building for some time now now, adding in little pieces here and there, and as the original melodic sequence starts to plateau, the drums add in further cymbals and hats to add further intrigue to proceedings, with a new thudding key line increasing the scope of the melodic network. The bass line and the new high line lead the way in the drum breakdown, and then the second percussive transition comes in, via the form of an explosive hats and kicks combo, with the progression of this element of the track so expertly pulled off. Its a wonderful series of build ups, with the spaces left from the previous section gobbled up by the new set of drums, which culminates in the structures stripping away significantly to highlight one final melodic addition, with the deep sultry key line aligning itself on top of proceedings with real excellence. This segment then starts the new build up, as the track moves and flows with a real confidence once more through the varying scenes and segments with brilliance and flair. This one's a real winner.

Up next comes 'Zisco United', and we begin in familiar territories for this one. The kicks hold the rhythm down as the bass line dips and weaves around its pulse, content to keep meandering and probing in the underbelly of the track, as a sprinkling of melodicness moves into view on top of things. The keys are cosmic and transcendental, moving in and out of view with each passing moment, with their floaty presence then leading into the soft chords sliding into view in the backdrop. The drums soften as the track looks to take a moment to breathe, as little key lines move in and out of view, before the cut picks itself up to head right into the mix of things, with the main melodic driver coming into the mix via the little soft three note sequence, that acts as the pinnacle to the tracks movement through the gears. After all that lovely blending, the tune then moves into more bassy territories, with the vibe intent on maximising the potential that is contained within the basement levels, with the sonics really taken to their fullest limits. The track remains content to move forward in this manner, weaving and ducking and diving to its hearts content, with only a resemblance of the melodic side of things remaining to keep us locked in on an emotional level. A real stunner! Up next comes the B side, with the first cut 'Like a Train' outlining the energies to come. The beat has numerous layers to it, from the depths of the kick right through to the metallic sounding top, something that does a great job in setting the tone of what is to arrive next as the snares and hats arrive, alongside the nonchalant bass line, which crafts a real space in the depths to reside within. This arrangement goes along for a few bars before the melodic drivers hit, some proper liquidy chords that create a real sense of dynamism on top, a proper nice contrast to the hard hitting beats, as the track continues to sway and groove. The hi hats that land keep the progression going forward with real momentum, and this then leads into the melodies falling away, to expose once more the intoxicating drumming patterns on display, with the track then moving back into the melodic fullness before transcending into the night sky. To wrap things up on this wonderful slice of wax, we have '9 Evolution', and there's certainly time for one final workout. The 909 sounds are in full effect here, with a cacophony of sound and rhythm bleeding into our ears from the get go, toms hi hats cymbals and all, its quite the lift up, with the kicks really not far behind at all. To welcome in the new burst of energy, we see the introduction of a bleepy key line, that lands itself right within the bedrock of the track, adding in a little bit of that early 90s chirpy energy, before letting go and riding right into a very deep bass segment indeed, that rolls and rolls onwards and upwards with the times. The vocal snippet that lands in the dip in energy then leads right back into the slamming bass line, and the track then continues on with its spiralling ascension into the deepest crevasses of our mind. It worms and weaves into the consciousness, just like the rest of this wonderful EP, one that doesn't stand back but throws itself into the mix from the very off, its transitions and switches and builds something to really marvel at. 5 cuts for every occasion, all slightly differing but always feeding back into the spectrum that Sorrentino has called his own. A real beauty.

We find ourselves checking back a lot with this record, in order to take in every single moment that switches the game up, and that is a wonderful thing indeed. A record that prides itself on progression and mood, we find ourselves with each cut constantly standing back to marvel at the little touches that move cuts forward to very special places, with the tracks all containing within a narrative that speaks volumes of the man behind it. As EPs go, its a real stunner, with many things that stand out, but for Sorrentino it represents a perfection of his craft, a blend of the emotive standouts and the slamming out there techno cuts, a spectrum he has nurtured for a while now truly coming full circle with a release that stands above the rest in terms to application and technical prowess. An album we will certainly return to for a long while yet, and one that remains one of this years strongest.

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