Session Victim - Two Crowns (Delusions of Grandeur, 2021)
One of the mainstays of the current House scene bring their A game yet again on a remarkable EP that holds nothing back in showcasing just how far top notch melodic work can get you.
Some individuals and groups seem destined for great things, with this inkling alluded to throughout their records and releases as a paper trail leading us towards consistent pinnacles and successes. Its the approaches, the compositions and the atmospheres that help to build up this perception, one forged on a continual engagement with the vibes that flow our way via intricate rhythms, tonally considered keys and bass lines, and above all else a commitment to exploration and unravelling within tracks that occurs from start to finish. These kinds of artists set a trajectory for themselves within their respective fields, crafting a audial narrative that feeds into and inspires the overall progression of the genre, rather than simply highlighting the tropes and trends that pass us by. We become drawn to these artists as a source of creativity and musical enrichment, our hearts and minds always aligning to whatever they are looking to communicate through their new or previous releases, as we start to get a sense of what tomorrow might sound like. House music is filled to the brim with these kinds of artists, ones who began their journey with the greatest of intentions and the most expansive of creative ambitions, and as a result their travels are filled with the most inspired and dynamic of sounds, one that does much to explore and nurture not just their own audial identity but the genres in general. The evolution and morphology of sound comes naturally to them, a progression that considers all facets of a built up sound with a view to seeing how it could abound and explore with the times, diverting and dipping through the spaces that we didn't know existed. We become enthused by the idealism that flows through the music's veins, a concentrated idealism mind you that channels both a joyous excitement with inspired musicality, with this pairing helping to keep the music focused and refreshing each and every time. To be able to sustain a career in dance music, it certainly helps to hold these ideals close to the chest, to never let go of the notions that keep people coming back for more and for sure always find ways to build up and expand upon your core foundations, and for these musicians it remains a fundamental aspect of their journey to keep building and expanding some more. Its easy to become ensnared in the musical brilliance that unravels itself from the music, and as the boundaries keep expanding we find ourselves with more features and elements to marvel at, as intriguing objects and far away places speak out to us to come a bit closer. When these ambitious notions are at the forefront of a musical career, then the sky very much remains the limit, with pre conceived notions of direction thrown out the window in favour of a more down-to-earth approach that champions musical expressionism and creativity. The heart and mind align as one beating unit, pairing passionate ideals with technical application which leads to results that are hard to quantify but boy do they make us feel something, and in the end that is what great House music should do. Moving us to the sways, the sights, the sounds, its all self-contained with the most self-assured of producers, who have the clearest vision of what they want to create and in turn give over to us something special indeed, a beautifully emotive object that we can hold in our hands until the end of days. A thread worth investing in, a pathway that softly demands we walk down, a journey with enough twists and turns as to mimic life itself.
If its threads of the highest orders you crave when it comes to House music, then look absolutely no further than the works of Session Victim, that contain the fullest extent of the genre's intricacies, passion and intensity. Session Victim consists of producers Hauke Freer and Matthias Reiling, who have since their 2008 debut shown a knack for the unpredictable, moving very much to the palpitations in their hearts rather than the changing winds of time, which in turn has allowed for a unbridled freedom to exert itself deeply within their records, with each release feeling like a self contained ode to their shared vision. Their music remains immediately compelling, both in terms of its technical application and its ingredients, which remain always cooked however you like it as we drift between deep and dubby tech laden grooves through to utterly mesmerising explosions of colour in the blink of an eye. The resulting flow of ideas and concepts becomes deeply engrossing as a result, as if you could dip your toe into any of their previous releases and frequently coming across a new side, a different era, a hue that seems vaguely like the next one but stands alone on its own two feet. Its that kind of excitement that only comes from the hands of highly ambitious music makers, ones who feel the desire burning within them to continually conjure up audial excellence that challenges as much as it excites. House music can often lead to dead ends creatively, such is its four to the floor nature, and many have become entrapped in making music that always leads us back to the same point emotionally, but with Session Victim that sentiment couldn't be further from the truth - they revel in making the journey to that point of musical nirvana that little bit varied each time, reading between the lines to further their own discourse and give us one hell of a ride in the process. This process is perhaps best personified by their frequent collections of EP releases that span multiple genres, which splits up the tracks of their LPs and fits them into chapter like segments that craft an unbelievable flow between the music found on each one. Their sound remains equally comfortable either in a club or sat down in a chair at home, with its intricacies playing out to the rhythms of the crowds or to the longing stare out the window, a wry smile coming across our lips as we embrace the layered mastery that wraps around our minds. Their music remains a gift that keeps on giving, and to look back through their works is a real joy, with our favourites including their debut on Delusions of Grandeur, 2010's 'Million Dollar Feeling', that remains a masterclass in sweeping deepness; the equally effective 'Left The Building' EP, that also landed in 2010 on the same label; the superb 'Haunted House of House' series, that features four volumes and further showcases the duo's move into beautifully conceived emotive house, that make up the tunes on their debut LP in 2012; the delightfully sauntering grooves that unravel from the superb 'Can't Help It', that arrives in 2012; the rhythmic showmanship that abounds from the 'Matching Half' record, that landed in 2016; the trio of records that make up the 'Listen To Your Heart' series, which captures the freeing essence of House and all its dancable qualities, with the tunes making up their third LP release from 2017; and finally, both their LPs 'See You When You Get There' and 'Needledrop' are both excellent examples of contemporary house that is both thought provoking and engaging to the last. In all, its hard to not feel something when you listen to a Session Victim record, with that emotional response swelling inside us in a myriad of ways as the melodics and rhythms slide past us. Its a glorious world to poke your head into, one that confides in us as it whispers to our souls and consciousness, teasing out the feelings within us that all good house should. What this duo have accomplished in their careers is nothing short of extraordinary, and when looking across the contemporary musical landscape you see their light shining very brightly indeed. Be sure to go back through and check out their works, trust us you won't be disappointed.
And now we arrive at their latest offering, 'Two Crowns', that arrives on their home away from home Delusions of Grandeur. By this point we have come to know the kind of quality that is to be found within a Session Victim record, and this release is no different, with each of its three tracks exemplifying what the duo are all about - soft yet powerful melodic sweeps, calm yet intensely intricate drumming patterns, and an overall ethereal tone that is filled to the brim with textured key lines and layers, with the overall picture created one of vividness and intimacy. You can almost reach out and touch it, you can feel it in the tips of your fingers, the words right there on your lips but it only feels right for the song to channel our emotions and speak for us, guiding us away into a space that could have power drawn for it for a millenium. On what might be one of their most concise and ambitious records to date, its classic Session Victim with a little bit of additional emotional injection, setting a trajectory that worms its away from the ground up to the heavens above, and with that sentiment lets dive right into this warm embrace of a record.....
Up first comes the title track, which begins with the skipping drumming patterns to get us started. The congas/bongos weave a pretty rhythmic line up top as other percussive elements add depth underneath, with a singular chord ringing out within the sea of rhythm before a sweep upwards introduces us to the bass line, which aligns itself impeccably with the drumming structure. A light stabbing chord moves from the rear of the track to push itself right to the front, with the track taking its time to build and then build some more, with the climax of this segment seeing the singular chord arrive back into the mix only this time its hear to stay, acting as a counterbalance to the swirling arpeggio that aligns itself within the mix. The track then does this interesting thing of creating density swells on a repeating wavelength, moving through the gears with a swift intensity as additional audial elements find themselves pushing the vibe onwards and upwards, the good vibrations washing over us continually as time passes by. The melodics move away for a time to provide a solid run of the drums and bass line, as the sweep returns yet again to lead us into one final foray into the full ensemble, with the chords, arpeggio and additional elements take us down a winding path of emotional expressionism. A beautiful opener. Up next comes 'Guidance', and this one begins with the chord line and the light drumming pattern kicking things off. The chords set a tone of immediate radiancy, crafting a deep feeling within us that only grows as it moves through its progression and sees a whole array of elements adding themselves into the developing groove, something that the duo are keen to maximise to its fullest potential as the kicks take some time to arrive into the mix. The delightful key lines that get added in on top act like flurries of light, gently caressing our faces as we look on in wonderment at the developing feel that emerges within the track, with the sense building within us that something is going to continually show itself around the corner. The chords move away for a moment to reveal the bass line emerging underneath, which is allowed to play itself out a few times over before we move back into the drumming pattern and that beautiful chordal line. We honestly would never get bored of listening to this, and during this segment a Detroit Techno style key line floats down from above and lands directly on top of the progression, as the track continues to bind us to its neverending unloading of bliss, with the full structure then coming back into full view. Each uplift in percussion brings with it new melodic elements, as if the concept is constantly evolving to provide a sense of getting from this place to the next, and its utterly glorious. You can't not fall in love with this sound.
To wrap things up, we have 'Village Youth', and this one begins with the breaky drums and deep synths getting us going. The vibe is like a gallop through a field of never ending sensualness, drawing our attention to the textured vibe of the ground beneath our feet and the sun drenched sky, leading the swells to wash over us in a multitude of ways as the feels maximise themselves as time passes by. The addition of little key lines do much to further the notions that reside deep within us, keeping our heads above water as the currents tenderise our minds with the softest of ambience and emotion, with that key line doing its utmost to evoke something within us. Its a simmering pot of feeling, with the dive into a drum-less plain leading right back into a climax of god like levels, as all the elements that were being teased out before come right to the forefront, crafting a soundscape that has so much to marvel at. The swells in melodics, like all that has come before, do the business in moving our minds onwards and upwards, pointing in a direction towards an unknown direction but not to worry, the song knows exactly where we are heading. Its one final statement of emotional bindingness, a series of visual experiences that dip, weave and dive around a core idealism of melodic and drum laden brilliance, a house record that will not sit still to provide one emotional tone but instead speaks to the complexities of the human experience. Beautiful, beautiful stuff.
Session Victim have always been a duo that yearned to release fundamentally interesting music, but its the elements that speak from the heart that remain the most impressive. On this record, we begin in a place of serenity before passing through all the stages of emotional expressiveness we could hope to imagine, with multiple trains of thought running weaving and winding around one another as keys and drumming patterns sway as gently as the breeze. Its another statement of intent from the duo in a quest that has seen their vibe expand and multiply, nurturing the many feels that House as a genre has to offer and channeling it through their music, which arrives to us in so many flavours indeed. House can be playful, House can be meaningful, in fact House can be a lot of different things, but Session Victim just make it sound like the genre has limitless potential, and this record is very much a testament to that. A beautiful piece of music, in more ways than one.
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