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Luca Durán - Circunvalar EP (Akoya Circles, 2019)

Deep and intriguing cuts aimed at a dance floor, complete with all the good stuff from the past and present blended into a workout adventure.

Akoya Circles have released some very interesting music these past few years, and feels like a label that very much values the intrigue alongside the emotive vibes. Often these two elements are left out in favour of one another, but within their discography we hear elements from both sides of the spectrum. From the three Look Like releases, include 2018's excellent 'Dreamwaterz' EP, alongside Parco Palez's 'Motorsports' EP and this years 'Megamix', the label feels forged from the strong identity of one/two producers, used as a bed rock to move forward into the future. The intelligent and forward thinking manner of the musical content is there to be seen, and very much feels like a blend of styles that contribute to a cohesive whole when listened to together. We feel the energy burning bright from both ends of the spectrum, a home experience counter acted with a different and abstract club experience, and here at Endless Grooves, we are all for it.

Now, we arrive at Luca Duran's debut on the label, the 'Circunvalar' EP. Bold as it is daring, cunning as it is Beaty, the producer takes us on a roundabout of grooves, depths and soaring pads. A journey that swirls and binds us to its effortless and boundless energy, we feel lost yet found within its capable hands. But yet, it has this quirky feel that runs through its core, that constantly surprises us, even being used as the transitional elements between various points in the tunes. Perhaps feeling like a bridge between the past and today, Duran utilises those 80s vocal samples and acidic lines to great effect, all taken in and welcomed amongst its classy modern aesthetic. Not to say that these tunes are shallow, oh no, quite the opposite. The depth and layering is so strong, and allows us to get lost within the various strata that co exist within this EP. So lets take a dip!

First up we have 'Body Mechanics', and we feel that the contents will very much match the energy of the song title. And how right we are. The tune starts off as it means to go on, introducing the electro style swinging beat, that comes out guns blazing. A bass line cuts through, before the swirling pads join in. Here we are introduced to the core elements of the song, that work tandem in curating a beautiful vibe. A vocal sample moves us forward into the next phase, as a powerful bass acid squelch churns through, as the pads become more chimey and uplifting. The two passages are like two sides of the same coin, offering a similar visual and audio experience on top of that ever constant drum beat. It all falls away, for a brief second, before coming straight back in at its pummelling best. At its lightest, this tune hits hard; at its heaviest, this song could move mountains. cooooooor, ya beauty. A Real ground mover this one is. It peaks and troughs at all the correct times, we get dragged along by this behemoth of a track. Up next we have the proto tune 'Romancia Negative'. Conjuring up feels of the Balearic Isles on a mountain of narcotics, the tune has an almost Krat/Berlin School feel to it. The emphasis again is placed on the high tempo drumming pattern, with a vocal line thrown in for good measure, as keys and pads create a intriguing mood and melody. The tune operates on a somewhat intellectual level, with all these little curiosities thrown in on top of yet another unstoppable beat. The vocals add enormous weight, particularly when paired with the soft pads, before then being contrasted with the cute synth line that follows suit. Here we feel an enormous sense of connection to the song; the mournful lyrics that move us emotionally, and the beat that moves us incessantly. The crafting of the two together is superb, and is perhaps one of this years most compelling dance tunes as a result.

Up next is 'Life Wires', and once again we take another trip into the unknown. Conjuring up the feels of Patrick Cowley, this one takes a more downtempo approach, with the beat turned quite far down, to make way for a pulsating series of synth lines lead by an omnipresent bass line. The beat changes up through a hi hat line, and moves in roundabouts through a series of scenes and narratives. Deep and dark, light and airy at the same time, this one just remains on another level of compelling, surprising electronica. It seems to combine elements of IDM, Cowley and vibes from labels like Casa Voyager, into this seamless journey through all three bodies of work. What a stunner this one is! to wrap things up, we have 'Circunvalar'. This one starts off with some deep pads, setting the tone for what is to come. A pure electronic workout paired with acid lines, rave esq chords, over a beat less series of bars, is yet another string to this mans bow. The hi hats come in to provide some back drop, but all the interest here is the perfect pairing of the harmonic elements, that work tirelessly alongside each other to create a beautiful electronic orchestra. The movements between scenes moves us towards the introduction of a beat, that does us one final thought for the EP. One of musical evolution, where we begin locked in to the groove, then moving through time and place, to then arriving at a moment where exploration and experimentation abound. We feel the various energies flowing through this composition, from the slowed down beat to the dancing synths. We feel it all, and is the best way to end on this fantastic EP.

Luca Duran has crafted something magical here. We have witnessed something that will resonate for a long time, a twisting and turning movement through the pairing of specific former genres and todays contemporary landscape. Duran surprises and delights in equal measure, music for the hearts and also for the minds. Music that makes us ponder and gasp, believe but also give ourselves into. Something tells this writer that this is the first of many brilliant releases from this producer. Bravo, superb.

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