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Native Cruise - Desert Theory (Paesaggi Records, 2019)

Warm and brilliant coastal breezes sound tracked by the wonderfully talented Native Cruise.

Summer might nearly be over, but Native Cruise might have something to say about that. In fact, he's being saying things for a while now. One of those producers dedicated to the breezy deep soul that we all know and love, and will continue to love, Mr Cruise welds together a landscape of warm hugs, kisses and sunshine. Since his straight up 2018 debut on Hidden Sphere's Fruit Merchant label, he has gone from strength to sun lit strength, including a full length release on the excellent No Bad Days label, along with follow up from this year, 'Sky Rider'. These releases have firmly placed Cruise within the temple of all things good and sweet, a delectable fruit that keeps on giving and giving, soundtracking those oh so warm sun drenched days, and those heady slow moving nights in the warmth.

His latest release, 'Desert Theory', confirms these vibes, but adds a layer of density not quite witnessed before. This is perhaps something he was building to, with each release confirming his development as a great producer and vison/soundscape creator. He draws you in further with each treat and delight, you just wanting more and more, before you become engorged on it all. But it will never be enough, and on this release, he gives us everything we ever wanted. Delish.

Up first, we have 'Late Nights'. With a slight Onra tint to it, the fuzzy glow resonates in this. Causal tropical congas groove over light synths, that radiate in the backdrop. A little key line adds to the evolution, giving the track some nice parameters, before it all breaks down slightly. Then the bass kicks in, and just softly envelops you in its warm embrace. The keys come back in, as the track builds momentum, with hi hits aplenty. It sits within that spectrum of going to a show with your friends, being by yourself, just nodding along, and soundtracking the end of an unforgettable night. The bright night lights flickering in the distant, the city still alive but turning in, its that nice slow burning yet undeniably upbeat tune we all needed. The synths seem to burn out yet spring back into life, always in the most unusual and surprising ways. That gives this track a balance, a series of scenes, that bounce off each other and work along side one another to create a real strong visual narrative. The title track follows up next, with the synths leading the charge. This one is much more Beaty, more dense, more alive it seems than its little cousin that came before, but no less well considered and balanced. A dance floor number, the drums once again add that rhythmic diversity, providing the slow synths to provide the atmosphere on top. A pan flute kicks in, adding that little extra on top, helping the track glide through the earholes and out the other side. Dreamy, calming, groovin', this is a fantastic track, and the perfect foil to the previous number.

Up next comes the stand out track of the whole record. 'Bermuda Clouds' starts off with the synth line softly enveloping over the sounds of soft waves crashing somewhere probably tropical. These sounds recede, but it is almost as if the keys are replicating that experience. Lying there, soft pale sunset, as the waves and their energy just comes over you again and again. This is a real nod to Balearic, to those times lost to the art of losing yourself in the surroundings, the energies, the context. The tune does a fantastic job at providing little moments of respite from the delicious and addictive synth line, just like with the other tunes Native knows just when to peak interest before bringing you right back in again. To end it all off, comes 'Whispers'. A song that literally whispers in comparison to the rest of the record, this tune comes full circle in terms of the energy front. A slower tune to start us off, then the middle two explore straight up smiles all round head nodding moments, before this brings us all down and back to reality. A real head grabber, a true emotive wrapper, we start off with the build up of synths and the like, before the drums kick in real slow. Its superb build up had us thinking one way, but it all just unravels to something else. Tropical paradise at its every best.

Native Cruise serves up a balanced menu, one full of tasty treats and delights for all the senses. Most importantly, he taps into the mind, the feeling and the experience, through the use of just general softness throughout the whole record, even when the tunes evolve to something a bit more extreme. But it always comes back to the inventive use of synths and keys to evoke mood, something that has always been strong in his work, but very much the success of this record. Native Cruise, it might be the end of the summer, but we salute your view that we can always escape there, thanks to this stunner of an EP.

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