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Spiritual Emphasi - Feel the Magic (Cosmic Rhythm, 2022)

On his return to Cosmic Rhythm, Davide Disanto brings the Spiritual Emphasi vibes in full force, with a stunning display of melody and rhythm that continues to find new ways to keep the dream house atmosphere alive in a myriad of inventive ways.

House comes in many flavours, each somewhat distinctive from the last, but it can always be linked backwards in time, submerged in its present context, and of course utilised as a precursor for things to come in the future. This is particularly apparent when producers operate within a space that honours much of the goodness that came before, their music bridging the divide between old and new with a particular blend that joins the endless dots that persist between two time frames. What comes forth is a sound that feels ultimately fresh, its production value dripping with quality and precision which in turn gives it a contemporary gleam, but underneath there lies a deep passion and understanding for the history of the genre, and this homage of sorts is born not out of wanting to fit in with the crowd, but dictate it. Drawing power from the space between the pre-existing and the enormous space of potential that persists in front of us can only lead to great things, and these artists help to occupy and expand the potential of these spaces by understanding the past as if they lived through it. We find so much to explore and enjoy within these sounds, our minds soothed as much as our hearts are sung to, and there's plenty of variations on that theme to be had when the gears shift, the hats drop out and the drums fade back in. Journeys are to be had with producers who engage with this space, the motifs veering from left to right, back in time and to the present, bridging contexts and spaces with environments we know and love, and perhaps the ones we haven't discovered quite yet. There's a world to be discovered here, a mountain to climb where at the top we can view over the world, feeling the wind on our faces and the sunlight in our souls, a sheer level of goodness that never falters, only moving onwards as it inspires and entices in equal measure.

Someone who ticks all these boxes is Italian producer Davide Disanto, who for sometime now has been crafting an impressive sound that slots so beautifully within multiple frames of reference, with a keen eye for how it might progress in the future. Disanto has a number of aliases with which he has released music under, with St. David being the most prolific of these names, alongside other channels such as the texturally informed Geffen and, of course, the deepness of the Spiritual Emphasi outlet. Disanto certainly has a deep awareness of how melodic sequences can operate with one another, with many of his tracks demonstrating a dexterity in formulating intricate layers and passionate tones, all the while the rhythms underneath do much to lift the emotion up top to new heights. His work within the Deep House genre is revered for a number of reasons, be it this duality between the harmonies, the excellent production value, but perhaps also the aesthetic that comes forth. This shiny top layer is the result of in-depth knowledge that pairs so many of the genre's classic tropes with new, sophisticated forms of expressionism that make his music sound undoubtedly fresh and meaningful. This understanding of the genre mostly stems from the Dream House and Italian genres, and the motifs of these classic eras can be found throughout Disanto's work, from the balance between rhythm and melodic segments through to the perky vocal samples that help the dancefloor navigate the dance. This is further evident in his Theory of Swing imprint, which turns a keen eye to the wonders of 90s house stylings, and features some stellar names to boot.

When engaging with Disanto's music, the listener really feels the music, due to its involving nature, as the context switches to a series of blue outlines, where the sky and sea meet and the bodies all around move with one notion. His reimagining of sounds from all ages is simply glorious, and his audial identity is one that can be returned to time and time again. There is so much goodness to highlight within his discography, starting off with the St. David discography and the excellent 'Street Beats' EP, which landed in 2017; the infinitely groovy 'The Groove' EP, which came out in 2019; the gorgeous simmering 'Mind Power' record, which landed in 2020; the powerful 'Bang Traxx' record, which also came out in 2020; the bubbling and bass laden 'A Touch Of Deep', which came out in 2021; and finally, the beautiful 'Poetry & Rhythm' record, which also landed last year. From the Geffen name, be sure to check out both 2016's 'Ordinary Tales' (a joint release with Ainee) and 2019's 'Ultima Weapon', which both explore differing tangents to the usual identities that Disanto aims for. In all, Disanto's audial universe is one seeped in the histories of electronic music, but with a aligned approach towards the future that leaves so much space in the middle to display all kinds of wizardry. His compositions take the breath away at times, doing the business both on the dancefloor and within the comfort of your own home, such is the emotional gains to be had from both contexts. We remain transfixed at all times, no matter what, as we await the next journey into the bliss.

And now we arrive at his latest effort, 'Feel the Magic', which sees Disanto return to the Spiritual Emphasi name and to everyone's favourite Dream/Deep House label Cosmic Rhythm for the first time in 5 years. Under the Spiritual Emphasi name, Disanto has released two exceptional records, 2017's 'Spiritualism' and 2021's 'Interlude', with both records truly leaning towards that classic Italian period of Dance Music, with the kicks flying all around and the pads, well they were something else. Its no wonder that Disanto has released on Cosmic Rhythm, with this strain of his sound aligning perfectly with the label's sound, and this new release from him is absolutely no exception. Here Disanto utilises the whole spectrum of melodic motifs associated with the genre, with electric flutes, pans and vibraphones featuring heavily as floating elements which rise high above a plethora of tonal and melodic excursions, and the resultant sound is gorgeous beyond belief. The first three tracks slam right through the night, whilst the record ends with something a little bit more chilled out and jazzy, and this balance makes it, for us anyway, his most complete record to date, with so many incredible moments to revel in along the way. So, why not join us as we dive into this incredible piece of music, where past, present and the future align flawlessly.....

Up first comes ‘Feel The Magic’, and this one flickers into life very nicely indeed. After the cosmic sweeps glide across the pan, a beat emerges that consists of just hats and snares at first, with some lovely little flurries existing in between the space. Kicks soon come into the mix, and another sweep brings the bass line into life, its form snaking around the drums with ease and beauty, and the stage is set for something beautiful. Sure enough the pads arrive to bring in a new dawn, softly serenading us as we drift across the skies, kissing the peach coloured clouds with the glittering sea welcoming us like an old friend. Soft melodic blemishes are thrown in to add further character, as a vocal sample emerges to transform the track into its next phase. The keys fall away to reveal a floating ethereal flute lead line, and as this is given time to breath the pads come back into view to make the picture complete - or so we thought. The stabs Come next, complete with a very 90s sounding electronic flute solo, with all these elements coming one after the other in true paradise house fashion. The track continues to roll onwards, inspired to fill up all the spaces found within as we fall in on ourselves, relaxed to the point of euphoria. What an opener! ‘Atmosphera’ comes next, and this one doesn’t mess about. The lone flute note calls everything to session, and almost immediately the drums come into view, solid as hell with plenty of hats riding high above kicks so sweet you could reach out and taste them. The pads come into view next, and their two chord progression is as deep as anything, their frequency hitting the sweet spot between sheer delirium and utter bliss. The track then brings it all together with the emergence of the flute line, which slots into a more long form role here, playfully moving up atop the chords, splashing around in the lagoons between the drums. The organ keys make a welcome return for a quick flurry, before we descend into the drum laden segment, but you know the melodies are not far behind, and as the chords return the organ makes itself known to all. Its music to lift the spirits, to transcend ills and bad wishes, and carry the soul to somewhere far away from the noise. Pure, soft, tender, this one has it all. An essence that cannot be bettered.

‘Ethernity’ arrives next, and this one begins with the sweetest of rhythmic flows to get us going. The snares do a lot of the heavy hitting here, creating a sense of swing with the kicks that helps to propel the audience forward, and as everything slides into view things just feel so alive. The chords arrive alongside the bass, creating a duality that is hard to deny and even hard to not dance along to, our minds chiming along to the groove and the melody. As the track descends into its first breakdown the electronic flute line comes to the fore, with additional synths and a vibraphone adding extra spice and depth to the composition. The transition into less dense spaces is handled beautifully, with the solid chord left to hammer it out as we are greeted with stab chords to drive home the rhythm. As these come to an end we are greeted with the most explicit flute solo yet, this time holding nothing back as we are absolutely hooked on its nose dives, its dramatic ascents, and like that we slide back into the chords and all that they hold. There’s still time for one final flute sequence, and its a beauty, something that we have come to expect with this exceptional record. To wrap things up, we have ‘Jazz Excursion’, and staying true to the name of the piece the immediate outlay is very groovy indeed. The drums feel very organic, with a certain sway to them that lifts the spirits via vitality and heart, as we seek out little spaces within to call home. The keys that land after one minute or so are expertly delivered, both in terms of tone and placement, something which gets switched up with a solo of sorts that comes into view soon after. The vibe is slightly more mid 90s Chicago than early 90s Italian, but the beauty of the melody is on point, and executed so simply but with such intent and meaning. The way in which the lead key line searches then searches some more is life affirming, like a flickering fire that still has some legs in it yet, and before long the embers emerge within the breakdown. No matter, the energy levels quietly pick themselves up off the ground and we are set free to drift alongside the meandering key line, its solo leading us to the stars and back again, from the Mediterranean through to Lake Michigan, everything is captured here beautifully. An EP that holds the Cosmic Rhythm ideals to its heart, and furthers the narrative of the label’s ever brightening future, one bound by an endless sea of emotiveness, rhythm and passion.

House does indeed come in many flavours, and even to this day producers are finding new ways to carve out their own journey amongst the endless sea of records being made in the genre's name. Italian House will forever have a special place in many a head's heart, with its golden era still resonating so strongly through time, inspiring the current crop in their endeavours, and in producers like Davide Disanto, the flag is being held high and with so much pride. His works to this date in time are wide, varied and on point, fuelling dancefloors across the globe with passion, rhythm and atmosphere, with his work as Spiritual Emphasi leaning heavily into the Dream House state. This new record is something else, a triumph of brazen melody mixed with exquisite rhythmic patterns that do much to craft a foundation for the beauty that persists up top. Each track revolves around this concept and reaches for differing combinations and layers, providing an enriching listening experience that never, ever gets old. If you like House, then listen to this record immediately - its probably one of the best you'll hear all year.

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