DJ Popup - Heather (NES, 2019)

Popup brings all the shimmering goods on this textured beauty, on his new label.

Like a light coming through the edge of some cloud far away, Popup brings here some delicious flavours for us all to cherish. This being the launch of his label, and his debut EP to boot, there's quite a lot here for much future success. The ebbs and flows that permeate from this release are quite something, a mixture of UK sounds, 90s American House, dubby techno and boundless confidence/expressionism that comes together into a supremely impressive debut outing. A series of dance floor excursions that touch on the gentle side of dance music, moments where we allow ourselves to transcend through the textures that evolve so beautifully throughout the course of the EP. We are graced by an evident understanding of groove, yet Popup does a fair amount to deviate from this, moving into depths that we are only so eager to follow him on. This release is a very welcome one, and one can only except this level of sonic excellence from the Danish scene. A journey through a sea of colours and good times, all wrapped up in a nice little bow. So lets take a dip.

Up first we have the title track, that might just be the most compelling of an all round brilliant release. The track starts off in somewhat familiar territory, the sounds of the jungle, the owl and running water suggesting a tropical affair. The synths drift in from afar, and from this point its anyone's guess, thats the beauty of it. The sounds and tones build in intensity, with light drums doing a far bit to move the track on. Its the slightness that allows for the introduction of a Lone style series of kicks to blend in so well, as the track moves away from the jungle and into the hustle and bustle. A solid rumble of bass sways into play, with an enormous amount of swagger and almost disregard for the softness occurring above it. But again, that's the aim of it all, the contrast between the breezy Balearic notions and the heavy as hell undertones of the UK bass scene. Then, the most interesting elements come into play. The pads fall away, replaced by something more textured, as a series of key lines transport us right into the smoke. We are dazzled by a series of expertly placed synth lines, that do so much within this part of the song, layered to perfection. The song moves along with such elegance, retaining our interest through its impeccable movement through the mind and the body. One final time, the key line reminds us to keep dancing, as it resides within our brain, to be unlocked once we press play again. Up next is 'Memory Hole', that once again starts off in an ominous and vague beginning point - where will Popup take us next? the sea sounds remain. The drums are more straight up house, as the synths finally come into play. Deep and solid in body, they stab so light, measured time wise so beautifully, as the bass line kicks in. One is reminded of the Italo house scene, only with a modern twist. The drums come back in, switched up a bit more, with some break beat elements thrown in for good measure. The synths then fade away, as chiming pads come in, giving more space to the groove to really take us away. The tune takes a turn into a more experimental feel, with the synths jumping and bouncing around the beat with glee, a real mind worker. This could continue on forever, us locked in its hypnotic gaze, as the groove does its very best to move us til the sun comes up. Real shit.

Finally, we have 'Trouble on Rope Street'. The kick starts proceedings, before being joined by a little guitar lick, that maximises the groove at this point. The drums allow themselves to grow in depth, with a real nice higher level and a lower level. Then! out of nowhere comes one final twist, a hot and heavy organ style synth stab, that transports the tune into the stratosphere. All the lower drums and guitar licks move away, to expose the essence of the song - that organ. This tune is a interesting move away from the more textured and varied first two tracks, and presents a different level of energy, balancing out the EP fantastically. One for waking the crowd up, or really getting it going. A pure dose of energy for the soul to move to!

Mr Popup displays a whole realm here. The consistency lies in the drums, the up there levels of energy, but the interest lies in the variations, transitions, twists and of course the execution. He pulls away when needed, at just the right time, or introduces an element, at the perfect moment. A showcase of how to build a track to something different, to create scenes then blow them open to create landscapes. What a debut! The journey this man is on, the only way is up.

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