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Eluize - Confide (Craigie Knowes, 2019)

A Debut LP full of wonder and late night smash hits.

One of the defining labels of the past few years, some noise has been generated around Craigie Knowes, the Glasgow label that has introduced a new and very exciting new breed of production talent within the electronic scene. From local heroes such as the Highfield Causals and the Burrell Connection, to legends such as Derek Carr, the label has forged a sound based on depth and vision. A label where anything goes, but with a distinctive vibe that pulls late into the night on an epic voyage of discovery. In short, it is always exciting to see what the next release will conjure up. The label touches on so many genres, from deep house, to acid tinged techno, to straight up rave and breakbeat. It has it all. Much of this is forged in the Glasgow ideals of having a good time, and loving the beats of the old school but forging out a sense of the future.

All previous releases, save for the two War Child fundraiser LPs released in 2015 and 2016 respectively, were in EP or single format, celebrating the notion of underground dance music through short bursts of energy. Eluize provides us with the first full length record from a singular artist. Eluize has shown her production credentials with stellar releases on her imprint Night Tide, along with contributions to releases on Future Massive and Cashminus Music. Her blend of techno deepness and tropical summery vibes have been on shown within these releases, and display a strong level of diversity and character within her tunes. All roads its seems have lead to this, her debut LP, that takes these positive qualities and extends them over a 7 tracker full of bliss and scapes.

The opener, 'Home' is delicate (perhaps the most delicate tune ever releases on Knowes), a stunning hypnotic rhythm that swells and exhales, with the vocals drifting over a sonic richness. Rings and percussive elements provide an essence of nature, much like the music of Young Marco or Call Super, that creates a scene and a landscape. It is a very fitting opener. 'Say' follows up next, and continues on with the energy of the first tune. Except for additional delicate drum patterns, the vibe is retained. Up tempo, yet still downtempo, the essence of these two tracks remain in the soft vocals, that can so easily detract from electronic songs of this nature if not executed correctly. Quite the opposite occurs here, as the soft harmonies and blended layers work expertly with the careful beautiful subtilies humming along underneath. Its wonderful hearing the track stripping back and hearing the delightful bass line, that remains so much in the background but kicks in halfway through to pump the track up a notch. And just like that, 'Distance' jumps into play. A grower, the song almost threatens to retain the blissed out euphoria of the first two tunes, but then the tempo draws that notion to a close. Beautiful, dense and perfectly balanced, this has all the ingredients of a classic deep house tune. A sparse and carefully calculated drum pattern allows for swirling synths and keys to groove around repeating cycles of pads. The Lines evolve and move out and in effortlessly, and remind one of a drive deep within the coastal haze of the Mediterranean. Deep blues, bright sands are images evoked from this one. The track encapsulates the first two tunes' vibes perfectly, whilst showing a change in scenery; no vocals, just jamming, groovin' slow house breeziness. Stunning is the word.

The vibes change to the late night on B1, 'Disconnect'. A chubby acidic number, this one is a reminder of what Eluize has conjured up in the past; club ready dance vibes that channel the deep dance floor, again showing her ability to create a well balanced and subtle tune. Vocals become the focal point once again, and work as the conduit for transitions in the tune. Like the Chicago house legends of old, this is what makes this track, and it does so in style. 'Elapse' kicks in, and it is what alerted this writer to the producer in the first place. A deep synth line permeates through the mist, the haze, as evolving down tempo bliss resides underneath. A beautiful and mystifying tune, it provides a perfect folly to the upbeat crunchy nature of the first track on this side. 'Still' comes next, and brings the dance back in. A drifting dreamy vocal glides over a deep husky italio style dub line. Very much a throw back to the work of Dreamscape, this track bangs, hard. One to get you jackin', it drives forward retentlessly, with the vocals again playing a key part. Part singing, part swaying, part talking, part whispering, it is a fine line but it works brilliantly. Painting a picture of life, executed on the dance floor. To cap it off, 'Oceanic' provides the final dip in this never ending pool of sonic goodness. Keys create a bedrock of soft goodness, that evolves the listener in the warmest of embraces. A tender kiss, a reassuring hug, a look out into the sunrise together. A reminder of things gone by, a look out the window on a passing train. This is Eluize's final narrative for us, but she lets us conjure up images for ourselves. The vocals said so much on this record, but now she wants us to to the talking, the thinking. This remains the strongest element of this record; the music sang, now we reflect. We couldn't ask for a stronger ending to a record.

A fine, fine debut from a up and coming producer, Eluize sure does provide a journey for us to venture on. Weaving between the Beaty dreamy house and techno we have familiarised ourselves with, this record shows another side to Eluize's musical brain, a venture into the downtempo and sonic, that is pulled off effortlessly and triumphantly. A real statement of intent, and a journey that is well worth the listen.

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