Goodbye Mirage - Minority Resist (Funnuvojere Records, 2020)
The endless sunsets seem that much bolder and the expansive night sky that much deeper on this beautiful new release from the Funnuvojere label.
Here at Endless Grooves, we always get excited by labels that continually look to not just evolve the sounds associated with it, but ones that always look to evoke new emotions and visions within listeners. The relationship between the music and those who enjoy it becomes that much more impassioned and invested due to the journey we are taken away on each time, returning back to the same spot before embarking on a slightly new narrative and visual pathway with each new release. We become woven into the narrative just that little bit more, with careful consideration given over how the plot unravels and fuses itself within all the shorter pieces of narrative that spark our imagination or signal a transition into something bold and invigorating. This sort of momentum only occurs when certain elements align each time, notably the label heads having the vision and the ambition to drive their label on a trajectory that many are so easily accepting of, their artistic endeavours embodying all the positives about the label; but it is always the producers too who serve up the goods, with their content providing continual intrigue and interest. It's as if each time, our eyes are opened a bit more to the hearts and minds of those associated with the label, with it's inner workings becoming a bit clearer in regards to direction and ambition, but having that notion of surprise will always remain the gift that keeps on giving. By diversifying the sound spectrum, alongside exploring the absolute boundaries of that one EPs sound, before smashing it open on the next one, we remain constantly engaged. Our interest perked to the maximum, our mood immersed in the lush tones and evocative key work, our dancing feet tapping to the rhythms, the hearts and minds indulging in the overall package of excellence. These are the labels that always remain on our radar, with our ability to return to the music always remaining high due to the knowledge of what is to come will always build and develop on what occurred previously.
In many ways, Funnuvojere Records have been following this kind of trajectory narrative ever since their debut release back in 2019, and you can't see them deviating from it any time soon. The label, run by Italian producer Massimiliano Pagliara, has consistently pushed only the highest quality dance music throughout it's short but extremely memorable history, with each record serving up some very special moments indeed. Dipping in and around the genres of deep house, warm vibrant techno, tender ambient, progressive Italo and heart warming acid, the music is presented in this beautifully considered and emotionally intuitive way, wherein the listener can fully immerse themselves in the vibes that flow endlessly from within. The music has this wonderful sense of flow and purpose to it, with the delicate touches in relation to transitions and scenes making the experience all the more enjoyable. Whilst the genres might weave and dip around with ease and pleasure, it's the threads that run through the essence of the music that binds it all together as a body of work that remains highly regarded and respected. The character, the flavour, the evocative touches that elevate the dance, to be able to curate these moments continually is quite a feat, and it's testament to Pagliara and the producers for their stellar work in regards to aligning all these wonderful elements within the record label's universe. The discography as mentioned remains only in the single digits in relation to releases, but each one is a slice of gold, and will cater to all your indoor listening periods or outdoor raving related parties. James Booth's 'Bath Time' EP, was the debut back in 2019, which is a wonderfully expressive house record teaming with Balearic breeze; Jules Etienne's beautifully considered 'Biscotte' record followed next, and would build on the sonic foundations laid by Booth with another inch perfect performance; Rotciv introduced some more acid flavours into proceedings on his 'Awakening' record, which furthered the boundaries of sound just that little bit further; Derek Neal followed with 'Reason Machine', which delved into the producers 90s influenced sound with a record that conceived a variety of excellent musical experiences; and finally, Armonics served up one of this years most compelling releases, 'Starlight Keeper', which was a real show stopper that treaded the line between Italo and Acid so superbly. All in all, a dive into the Funnuvojere back catalogue is a sublime one, where you get to know some fundamentally brilliant records that are pulled off with grace and passion, breezing from your mind and soul in equal measure. So go on, take a quick saunter, you might be transported to paradise.
So now we arrive at the latest release on the label, 'Minority Resist', which arrives from the create mind of Goodbye Mirage, which is an alias of Czech producer Martin Kuška. Kuška has released a number of dreamy synth led mixtapes in the past, with the 2018 cassette release 'No Need To Hurry, But No Time To Waste' a particular highlight, with the techniques in regards to song building seem right at home on Funnuvojere. The record is informed by Kuška's memories of the Berlin Love Parade, that celebrated a love of music alongside an even greater celebration of expressionism, and that last word perhaps describes this wonderful record best. It's the slowed down notion of the tracks that allow for transitions into sequences and song structures that simply take the breath away, where the mind is allowed to wonder into this perfectly constructed soundscape, where progressiveness takes centre stage but always allowing for emotional investments to occur with unparalleled scope. So, lets take a dive into this.
The opener, 'Surfing Blank Mind', kicks things off with a suitably up tempo drumming pattern. The kick rings true right in the middle of proceedings, as all manner of intricate percussive elements weave around the beating heart, as the crescendos and arpeggio key lines prop up the drums with density and gusto. The progressive feels gets upped significantly with the introduction of the pulsating bass line, that moves quickly to occupy the mid section of the track. By this point, the track has done an excellent job at harnessing our energies, and as the keys in the backdrop swell and flux, it's that little pause that allows for a significant release of feeling. The song then rides the crests of various waves, riding high before falling down, with this motion repeating numerous times to great effect, really taking it's time to move through the progressions. The tune does a superb job at maintaining it's focus, with all these beautiful subtle blends and notions allowing for the track, with the melodic elements almost allowed free reign to drift in and out of our view. As openers go, it's quite something. Up next comes 'Temporary Loss of Corporate Dreams', which begins in similar surroundings to the opener. The drums have a more dense feel to them, with the wave lengths exuding from each kick and percussive element filling all the spaces between the structure. The bass line is what makes this introduction immediately compelling, it's crunchy raw feel aligning itself very well indeed with the drumming patterns. The low slung synth sequence that unravels on top continues to build the mood, washing over the harder elements that persist underneath, as the track continues on with it's journey into the outer reaches of space and time. The progressive touch that embodies the manner in which the track introduces these little variations gives over such a vibe, presenting to us a producer who really embodies the notion that carefully considered approaches always pull off stunning results. We are left amicably lost within this sea of sound, where swirling elements move around our peripheries before gliding off into the sky, the moment left for us to ponder on for an eternity. Simply gorgeous.
'Billboards or Crash Barriers' arrives next, and the texturally rich opening salvo hints at great things to come. The drums are suitably rich and full, with the bass line following on right behind, as it fills what little space is left in the drums wake. The kick then arrives right on time, the groove in full effect, as the track begins it's take off into the centre of the dance. Melodic elements have remained quite passive up until this point, merely hinting at their presence, but that is all changed as a gorgeous synth line permeates from beyond the clouds and lands right into the heart of proceedings. No sooner as it swelled to it's fullest extent has it slinked away, to be replaced by a singular chord content in the backdrop, with the flickering of keys moving and grooving around on top of the ever evolving drum beat. The track goes through some notable evolutions, with consideration taken to every level and element that persists within the tracks structure, with more dubby bass parts allowed to have their moment in the sun. It all comes together once more as that euphoric key sequence floods the song, it's grace and melodic richness allowed to keep going for a few more bars this time, as we are fully transported away to the furthest reaches of space and time. To finish up, we have 'Random Encounters With Landscape', and this one begins in more softly spoken surroundings. The drums begin to craft a pulse, the kick acting alongside the light percussive elements on top to craft a rhythm that sways in the gentle breeze, and this laid back feel immediately translates into the glowing melodic elements that slide into view. The synth leads the way in the backdrop, whilst the bass line slams gently underneath, with all manner of cosmic key sequences moving through the middle of proceedings. Once more, the evolutions remain key to this tracks brilliance, as we constantly emerge and reemerge into sonic landscapes that blend and merge from the richness found within but always refer back to the core essence of the track. It's a fitting end to an EP that full of enriching wonderment, a listen that can lead off in so many directions, so many doors that are opened up, just depends when you choose to jump off and what kind of experience you look to lift from it all. Sublime.
Sometimes in dance music, you want both ends of the spectrum - in that you want music that makes you feel as much as it makes you think. Music that is intrinsically interesting, displaying musicality that we only dream of, but pulls off transitions and feels with such brilliance and flow that if it was played in a club, you would feel right at home. Kuška pulls this off with such brilliance and understanding, you find yourself taking a mental trip on numerous occasions during this record, where feelings and passion resonate so much from his love letter to past memories. The progressions, the transitions, and perhaps most importantly the mini evolutions that permeate this musical landscape of boldness and brilliance are all so prominent and impressive. This truly is one of the best records of the year. Where else will Kuška and Funnuvojere take us next?
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