Olivia - Dancing Snake (Pinkman, 2020)
Come follow the light into the heat of the rave as Olivia soundtracks our senses with a brilliant record filled with hyper expressive beats and deep pulsating melodic sequences.
The heat of the dance is very much a feeling, a reaction, a moment of pureness that remains very much tied to the context of being there, but on occasion we come across music that simply evokes the emotions of being there in the purest ways possible. Its very much the totality of whats being put on offer, a semblance of our shared experiences that comes to right to the surface as we delve and dip around the intoxicating rhythms that flow and abound from the needle, a notion that reminds us of certain moods and places in time, buried deep in the sub consciousness but now bought to the foreground in the most mesmerising of ways. Perhaps its the heavy dosage of pure up tempo magic, the drums and melodic features working over time in order to bring the collated memories back into the mix, or maybe its the balance of otherworldly features set within a sea of groove that harks back to the times where the music really challenged us in the most interesting of ways. The moments when the mix remained very much a time for hybridisation, the crowd in awe of the DJ and what they were wanting to convey, the feeling moving between the lines and the threads, the two parties becoming a blur as the music carries along the mood on its back, a feeling of pure joy and unadulterated energy. For some, there is a real desire to harness that energy into their music, a representation of the moment and the feelings that resonate from it, a totality in motion that sweeps from the dance floor and right into our ear phones. To capture the essence of nights, the mix, the tastes and the dips, is quite a feat, an application that relies as much on a dynamic flow as it does a copious amount of creative will. Its the kind of music that interlinks, infuses and binds the listener to the moment, a capturing of the energies we all crave when commencing on an audial experience like no other, the sonics and creativity in genre blending on point and flourishing to their utmost capacity. We get to know these producers within their widest possible spectrum, in that we see the fruits of their labours come forth in everything they look to accomplish, a sound capable of transporting us to the cosmos themselves before heading back down to earth, travelling at the speed of light and arriving into the deepest well of audial experience. Power, grace, fury and presence, all combined into a devastatingly brilliant soundscape that transcends as much as it delves, dips and weaves. Its something we all dream about, and to have something that sound tracks the dances in our minds is very special indeed.
For a while now, Karolina Marut has been entrancing music lovers around the world with her rhythmically haunting sets and infatuating productions, with the sound she has nurtured ringing true in the hearts of so many. Her style very much leans on the harder side of things, channelling the quintessential feels of acid, deep driving house, dubby edge filled techno, EBM and braindance, all merged into a free flowing style that leans heavily on its texture and feel, a thread that runs through the core that is all about movement and drive. We get merged right into the layers that unravel from within the pulsating core, carried along on a motion that surges from deep within to rise to the surface and beyond, a cresting wave that continually dips and weaves with the times and the rhythms. There's a real vividness, a pure expressionism, that is conveyed so well from Marut's work, a sound that caresses the euphoric side of our brain but also provides an underbelly of thought provoking features, with an intrinsically deep tone to everything that transpires with each listen. It harks back to the dance, to the emotions we sweep through when placed within the right context, the mood and tone something to truly behold and dwell deep within. We feel alive just thinking about her own productions and mixes, with all the dots connected by a deep understanding and approach to crafting a sound that remains wholly unique to Marut and Marut alone, which is something to really appreciate. Its this totality in musical identity, a thread that weaves between everything that she crafts, presented to us as a package of tunes that simply delight and tantalise at every turn, content in the knowledge that it all fits within one seamless motion defined by excellence and sonics. Some amazing mixes to check out include her wicked Dekmantel podcast, the equally impressive Discwoman mix, and the brainstorming Brvtalism mix too, which will have your head spinning for quite some time yet. Production wise, Marut has released music primarily under her Olivia name, with her debut EP, 'Shawa', arriving in 2018 on the aptly named K-HOLE WAX, and trust us when we say its a pretty significant debut, with Marut showcasing all her production credentials in a triumphant sequence through hard hitting acid, EBM and techno. She also contributed the track 'Relief' to the 'V/A Vol 1' compilation from this year that landed via the Dutch label Voyage Select, which is another superb track that furthers her audial definitions. Marut has also released music under the Olivia Ungaro name, and as a member of the group Radar released the cut 'Diamentowa Kula' on the 2015 release 'The Very Polish Cut-Outs Sampler Vol. 4', that landed via the The Very Polish Cut-Outs label. Quite different in regards to sound and genre, but you can feel elements of Marut's own music shine forth on numerous occasions. In all, there's much to celebrate about Marut and the elements she pushes, with a whole network of interlinked creative outputs to pick from and dwell within in order to get your fix of the deep hard hitting dance music we all know and love. Pulled off with flair and an eye for detail, there's a lot for us to go through and celebrate here, and we cannot recommend enough having a saunter through her soundcloud and discogs, in order to experience it all in all its glory. Trust us, you will have quite the trip.
And now we arrive at her newest release, 'Dancing Snake', that lands via the Dutch label Pinkman. Here we see seemingly all of the roads lead into one, a razor sharp direction in terms of the sound and the sonics, as Marut crafts perhaps her most compelling release to date, one that bares all the hallmarks of the rave whilst also demostrating a perpetually deep sound that contains so much from the very top to the very bottom. Marut's trademark sound is out on full force, a brilliant blend of deep chuggy acid set within a series of compelling percussive structures that carry the listener along on a bed of crunchy rhythms, a flow that when in full motion is simply irresistible, a feel that cannot be denied. All this leads to an inherently vivid experience, one where the listener is very much transported to the heat of the dance, left within a sea of bodies and euphoria, the music within touching distance, as we float off into the night sky. So, without further delay, lets get into this...
Up first comes the title track, and we spend no time at all in the slow lane as the gears become cranked up almost immediately. The singular fuzzy note rings out over a underbelly of constantly shifting drumming patterns, the kick holding the fort whilst all manner of features slide and groove on top with ease and meaning, with the initial flow giving way for a subtle acid line to align itself into the on going proceedings. The track smoothly transitions into a new phase, where the overall tone becomes less upward in trajectory and more so moving along a vertical plain, as if it has risen us to just the right point we need to be at for the next sequence, and what comes in store next is pretty remarkable. The track suddenly blossoms out with a key solo from up above, rising high and then diving low with an excellent focus on the sonics of it all, a new feature that will have you transfixed as time seems to slow down in order to allow us to appreciate it all. The underbelly remains consistent in its onward journey, providing a solid base that props up the gorgeous melodic structures that craft the compulsive top end of the track, a sonic narrative that has us looking all over the spectrum to get to grips with all the tune has to offer. The track moves and sways with the times, keeping us very much in the fold as things groove and move, the euphoria of it all swelling from deep within as each second passes by with grace and meaning. Its unbelievably intoxicating, and a track you will get lost within with each repeat listen. Remarkable. Up next comes 'Smoking Cage', and we begin in very similar territories indeed. The drums are resilient and forceful, making their way through the undergrowth to emerge on top, crafting a brilliantly deep tone that carries the various sounds and sequences that make themselves known on top of proceedings. The noises point to the mechanics, the hisses, the industry of it all, filling up the spaces and seams within the drumming structure with ease and meaning, a relationship which sets up the next phase of the track very well indeed. A eerie key line moves into the backdrop, its feel and touch one of feeling, of watching every move we make, concerned with the sways of our bodies as we navigate the smoke, with an additional menacing acid line extending out beyond the plains of existence. The picture now complete, the varying melodic sequences intertwine magnificently into this hybridised behemoth of a segment, with every sensory receptor on full alert as the full force of the track makes itself apparent indeed. The track moves between varying tones and layers, finding the time and space to flux with each structure as it aligns itself within the ongoing momentum, crafting an experience that is intense but so satisfying to listen to. Sheer brilliance.
'Desert Trip' comes next, and this time we are welcomed into the fold by the drones of the synth. The two note switch up is quickly complimented by the kicks, crafting a forceful notion that seems to perpetually go upwards, with additional percussive elements and synth lines aligning themselves with the track as seconds pass by at a break neck speed. Seemingly already in full flow, the track continues to gather pace, with little variations adding continual intrigue, before the backdrop becomes filled with the main synth hook, and its a belter for sure, as the drums take a moment to slow down and take in all that this new addition has to offer, with the structures underneath taking time to swirl upwards and slam right through the beating heart of the cut, with all manner of significance taking hold. The lead key line does a great job at panning across the entire spectrum, making the established boundaries move further outwards with each passing step, taking us on a journey of unparalleled depth. Closing your eyes for one moment sees you fly perpetually upwards, breezing along atop the undercurrents this tune crafts, content to just float along with all the raw power in the world. Excellence. To wrap things up, we have 'Cave', and there is certainly time for one final trip into the outer reaches of the mind. The drums kick things off, spacious and forceful as ever, with the spaces between them filled with a singular droning bass note that draws us closer to the essence of it all, with little percussive notes here and there adding further flavour to the forward momentum, with the full force building and building. Further additions including the acid lines and percussive features craft an even larger totality in terms of experience, something that remains testament to Marut and her excellent production skills, with the next phase arriving as the song opens up a bit to include yet another appropriately deep and haunting synth line. The overall picture is one of tonal and rhythmic mastery, where the percussion and melodies operate so well alongside one other in order to craft a symbiotic relationship that remains heavy on feels and is loaded with euphoria. This one is something else.
As the bars pass by on this record, you never feel lost or sunken in, merely swimming with an intoxicating scene that continually blossoms and blooms with vibrancy. Marut has crafted a sound here that points to so many contexts and scenes, one that touches on all the best parts of the rave sound but imprints so much of her own style and feel into proceedings. The manner in which the songs flow is intuitive and expertly layered, ensuring that the experience remains so complete with each listen. The level of satisfaction and immersion felt at the end of each track is palpable, a sensory overload that remains so vivid to the touch and to the ears, so much so that when imagining a distant place we have endless options to choose from. A record that gives over so much, not just in character and expressionism, but in vibrancy and meaning, a trip that you will feel in your bones for days to come. A shining star of 2020, this one.
Support the troops: