Spin Fidelity - Particle Shower (Nightflight Records, 2021)
On his latest offering as Spin Fidelity, Antonio Velazquez serves up his beautifully refined take on Detroit Techno and Electro with four cuts that move the subconscious to new levels of understanding.
It seems the spirit of electronic music of old has never gone out of fashion, and that sentiment is backed up by so much of what is being released these days. It was accustomary for producers to divulge in the many strands of genres that mutated on such a frequent basis, as if they were trying to stay one step ahead of the prevailing trends, which resulted in many incredible discographies that still stand up to this day as revolutionary and throughly intriguing. It was all about conjuring up a differing side to the story, whether it be via an alias or within a group environment there was plenty to be inspired by and so much more to give back into the swelling pool of excellence. Today, many music makers approach the art of crafting records in the same way, utilising what has come before as a benchmark to making a streamlined audial identity that pairs their own takes with the brilliance that came before. Certainly within the fields of Techno and Electro we have seen a real blend of pairing elements together that harks very much back to the Motor City and beyond, but has a continual thread that locks us into singular discographies (rather than multiple aliases) that provide differing vibes on each newly released record. It creates an ongoing narrative that ensures a consistent investment in that artist and all they wish to achieve, with subtle variations in sonics, the instrumental palette, the world building and the environmental tone meaning that our perceptions are always challenged in the most beautiful of ways. Even though the genre stylings might switch between releases, the continuum is maintained via the artist's ability to imprint their personal vision into the mix, which could come in the form of melodics, drum structures or something else, and that in turn further aids in binding us to their work and all they wish to achieve. It just goes to show just how far reaching and influential the Detroit sound has been over the years, with an almost countless array of producers adding further to the story that has captivated the electronic music world for 40 years at this point, with the spectrum of producers who have been influenced by its audial identity looking to send the adoration back its way with their own take on the many variations that have flowed through the city. We can now sit back and take it all in, standing in awe of both sides of the story, with innovators existing on both sides of the Pond in terms of musical depth, tone and experimentalism, with the torch of Detroit Techno still firmly gripped by those who came across it years ago and never looked back. Its the essence and the meaning that keep people coming back for more, its spirit embodied in the synths that sweep across the airy plains and the precise cutting edge drumming patterns that continue to find their way into the finger tips of many a producer, which serves us very well as a palette of sounds and vibes which craft atmospheres of pure ethereal beauty. With so many strands to pick from in the contemporary musical landscape, we become attached to those who showcase the most dexterity, the most intuition, and the greatest attentions to sonic detail as those producers to keep an eye on, with their knack of always finding the right spaces and areas to investigate and explore providing the context to many a dream like wonder through the cosmos or the streets in which we walk.
For a little while now, UK based producer and label head Antonio Velazquez has been serving up his blended, emotive and funky take on Techno and Electro, with the results always a diverse melting pot of superb rhythms, beautiful key work, and expansive atmospherics. Channelling his music primarily through the Spin Fidelity name, Velazquez started off exploring the fundimentals in electro's dynamics, with his early works moving with a confident swagger through Electro's perpetual rhythmic pulses, with the top layers always an intriguing and colourful array of deep chordal arrangements and hypnotic acid and key sequences. This highlighted his core ideals in providing an audial experience that was big on delivering immersive experiences, where the keys and pads work overtime to wrap around the head of the listener, with the drums carrying along the keys in the most superb of ways. It felt fresh, a real delight of sorts that charmed listeners with its infectious melodies and struck up a chord with the contemporary Electro sound with its daring joyousness, with the end resulting being Velazquez being elevated to the top table of current producers operating in this field of music making. Over time, Velazquez would look to tweek and perfect his winning formula, with later releases combining his inherent love for Electro rhythms with the sights and sounds of Detroit Techno, with the sweeping chordal lines and deep expansive environmental scope becoming another key feature within his works. This provided another angle to his sound, one that built upon his early successes and allowed for further mental excursions through the membranes of the human experience, allowing our minds to effectively meander through new doors and along freshly created paths towards that he has looked to weave into his sound. What began as a openly expansive melodic universe has flourished into a kaleidoscope of light, emotion and feeling, with an Electro orientated sound that has now grown arms and legs in accommodating tropes and features we associate with high end Techno, and for that Velazquez must be commended in being able to accommodate our passions for musical expansiveness within his works. He fuses the strands of both genres so effortlessly, but rather than standing still and resting on laurels Velazquez continually explores the narrative being laid out within his works, never standing still but merely searching far and wide for the next opportunity to pounce on another strand, another notion or thread that could potentially lead us down another path towards further electronic enlightenment. All of his releases are worthy of a mention, with our favourites including the gorgeous laid back electro of the 'That Sound' EP, that spins the percussive rhythms so very well with Velazquez's beautiful key work, which landed in 2015; the equally compelling 'Out Of Soul' EP, that further cemented his reputation as one of Electro's most exciting contemporary producers, which arrived in 2016;
the expertly conceived expressionism that occurs throughout his debut LP, 'Faceless', that arrived in 2018; the excellent 'Centrifugal Force' EP, that saw his electro sound become infused with Techno stylings so effortlessly, with the record arriving in 2019; the brilliant and endlessly expanding EP, 'Land Of Oz/Orion', that was released alongside fellow Techno voyager Derek Carr, that also arrived in 2019; and finally, the equally mesmerising joint EP 'Waves of Magnetism', a joint collaboration with producer Mihail P, that also arrived in 2019. In all, Velazquez's journey as Spin Fidelity has produced some fascinating results, with his colourful take on Electro and Techno standing tall amongst the sea of the contemporary crop, with the music fluctuating between differing realms of expression and form to provide us with a discography that knows no bounds, the music willing to shift itself from one place to the next with a dexterity only found in the most compelling and inventive of producers. We highly recommend you go back in time a bit and check out his works, we promise you won't be disappointed.
And now we arrive at his latest release, 'Particle Shower', that lands via the Belgium imprint NightFlight Records, which is his second release on the label. The record represents all of the progress that Velazquez has made in his discography, with the EP splitting itself up evenly between its two sides, with the first two cuts more kicky laden techno heart string tuggers and the other side being a couple of simply beautiful progressive electro numbers. It just might be his most ambitious and game changing record yet, with both sides doing much to fuel his ambitious production style and showcase just why he is held in such high regard within the dance music community, with incisive drumming patterns and infectious melodic work evident everywhere you look. Deeply moving, galaxy orientated and fundamentally progressive, its a record you will not want to miss if you enjoy your techno and electro funnelled through a lens of excellence and exquisiteness, and with that sentiment, lets dive right into this excellent piece of wax....
Up first we have 'Photon Stream', and this one begins with the drums getting the ball rolling. The kicks provide the rhythmic core as the snares and varying percussive layers move in and around the structure with a playful excellence, providing us with a foundation for which all will flow from. The bass line operates deep within the percussive elements, as the hats arrive to provide an additional sense of onward trajectory, and before long we are joined by the distant key line that fills up the backdrop with meaning and purpose. This isn't left hanging for long, as a acid line emerges to traverse across the various levels that persist within the structural integrity of the cut, with the track taking a quick breather to provide us time to get to know the acid line a bit more by itself before it all lifts up once again to move back into the core rhythmic structure, with the track moving between differing densities and fills to keep the trajectory moving very much in a forward direction. The melodics move away for a short time before coming back into view towards the end, providing us with a final moment to get to know the tracks in all their beauty before it all slides away into the distant horizon, waiting and ready to pounce again on the next urban landscape we find ourselves meandering through. Gorgeous stuff. 'Ancient Love' arrives next, and this one begins with the kicks getting us going. These are quickly joined by the sporadic hats and snares that move into place amongst the spaces left by the kicks, with the bass line coming into view soon after along with an additional level of chug that moves from a subtle level before moving into a more obvious space within the cut. The foundation and scene have been set, and now its time for us to move into the melodic section, and oh boy is it something to behold, with the deep deep chords swinging through the motions up top, going from the hopeful to the star like dreamer in a matter of seconds. These pads are contrasted very nicely indeed with the acid sequence that comes into view from afar before placing itself somewhere in the middle of the cut, with the relationship between the pads and acid line just incredible to listen to. Their interplay then moves into just the acid line being allowed to do its thing for a few moments, worming and weaving its way across the rhythmic tundra to help craft that balance between drums and melodics, and before long we are joined once again by the pads. Their movements are still so impactful and hard hitting, soft and tender yet all encompassing and meaningful, taking the time to move in and around the the neurones in the mind, and with this next introduction we are greeted with a second layer to throw into the progression, with the high end chords adding in another beautiful feeling into the mix. The track then moves back into a drum laden segment, with the chords returning one final time to throw their hat into the ring as the composition moves us further onwards and upwards towards the outer realms, a 9 minute journey filled with rhythmic beauty and thoughtful melodic touches that do much to take us to places of sombreness and inner enlightenment. Utterly transfixing music.
The B side arrives next, with 'There Must Be A Way' arriving first, and this one is an electro tinged beauty. The drums lead the way in the opening salvo, as light melodic touches within the drumming structure provide the basis for the key sequence to unravel on top, with the chords appearing distant at first, but as they swell in volume and presence the drums respond in kind to craft that kind of climatic swell we all adore in dance music. The shift back into more percussive territories provides the perfect foil to the swelling melodics, with their sequence drifting across the plains with an effectiveness that showcases Velazquez's deep dedication to his world building. The track then sees an introduction of a couple of new elements that further the feels, with a beautiful high end key line providing that spatial depth and the rhythmic pulsations of the bass line provide an undercurrent to the waves that lap at our feet on top. The cut then shifts further through its varying arrangements and structures, keeping the blood pumping right to the end as every corner and space is filled with something to look at, something to behold and admire. To wrap things up, we have 'Magnonic Transmission', and this one begins with the drums and the longing synth getting us going. The singular synth line is quickly joined by the two chord progression which beautifully lays itself out on top of proceedings, with the acid line quickly emerging from underneath to add a textural quality to the track that encourages all the other elements to work over time in moving the progression onwards and upwards. This occurs in some really delightful ways, with the varying layers flourishing into life with the two chord progression become a number as the cut dips and dives between densities and segments, with an amazing key line flickering on top that provides a feeling of momentum. This is some purist electro of the highest order, with the transitions so on point as we purposefully move along with a graceful meandering that takes the breath away at time, with our heads placed firmly within the midsts of all that is going on, the flow taking us by the hand and demonstrating to us all that persists in this endlessly vibrant world. What a way to end proceedings, top draw stuff.
In a record that shows both sides of his sound, Velazquez remains highly capable of weaving it all together so impeccable with his masterful understanding of melodics and progressions. Both sides are deeply emotive, with the more paired back feel of Side A allowing for subtle wavelength variations that keep us very much engaged whilst Side B draws attention to his enriching and beautifully conceived electro sound that remains big on how melodics can move the progressions very much onwards into the mind. All the tracks together create a mind map of melodic laden feels, with the key work outstanding throughout whilst the drumming is inspired and constantly shifting form to keep the foundations strong yet flexible at the same time. We remain very much in the middle of it all, putting our head above the top on occasion to really dip ourselves into the constantly free flowing forms and complex compositions that Velazquez pulls off with a real sense of imagination and feeling. Its easy to become enamoured with his sound, and this record remains as one of his boldest statements yet. If you like your contemporary techno and electro light, breezy and full of feels, then this is the record for you. Beautiful from start to finish.
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