Various Artists - Tera Suave EP (deepArtSounds, 2021)
The beloved deepArtsounds imprint continues onwards with their magnificent trajectory with a collection of gorgeous cuts that showcase to us the very best that contemporary deep house has to offer.
Its sometimes hard to fathom just how diverse Deep House has become in the past few years and decades, with everywhere you look there seems to be a new flavour or blend emerging from some corner of the earth. Morphologies, momentums and hybridisation have always been significant aspects of any musical genre, but given the popularity of Deep House it's development has always felt hyper-accelerated, with so many producers trying their hand at crafting some kind of unique narrative that stands alone above the rest. Standing out is a tricky task indeed, but within the sea of releases and labels we do see some shining lights begin to emerge, with this often occurring when the treads between releases are tangible, the overarching vision is firm yet flexible, and the overall-ness of the creative vision is through and thought provoking. Listeners yearn for labels and individuals who quickly establish their audial identity as a means to pointing them in the direction that their discography might travel towards, with the first handful of records a litmus test for things to come. Whilst some might stick to their guns and explore within a field of vision that suits themselves the best, the labels that perhaps leave a greater impression are those that are able to continually build upon what came before and bring forth new releases that simply dazzle. There's space for the continuity to rise to the surface but also an enormous amount of scope for new styles and vibes to fall into place, which in turn helps to expand the universe from beyond it's established norms and into exciting places. The discographies from these labels and individuals start to forge a path through the midsts of the wider sound, creating these anchor points and crossroads that provide the backbones to the soundscape, points of reference that serve as continually important narratives which listeners will always come back to. It's testament to the creative wills of the heads behind the imprint that such excellence comes forth, as they help to shape the interconnected sound of the label by bringing together like minded individuals who share commonalities in style and vision, and this consistency helps to bring forth an essence that becomes evoked in all that listen to it. If you wish to listen to a certain kind of house, perhaps the kind of house that really resonates with you, or if you wish to explore a new side to the spectrum to that which you are familiar with, then these labels serve almost as a pathway towards new spaces of understanding and expansiveness. As we continually emerge into new realms of possibility, it's always the musicians who find that extra little bit of creativity that gets us excited about where genres might go to, and within such a saturated market as Deep House finding this music is like finding a needle in a haystack, the joy in which we feel is palpable as we nod along to the enriching rhythms. It makes us feel confident in the direction of the genre, an emotional swell that rises from deep within that provides us with the notion to stick with it, to feel inspired by certain records as to keep digging further into the lexicon of Deep House that perhaps had slipped by us in years gone by. Feeling, intricate rhythms, affectionate compositions and a dynamism in contextual relevancy, these are just some of the factors that signify a great sounding Deep House record, and whilst some might come across this formula once or twice, there are certain stories which hit the mark every single page, and we for one are very happy indeed to keep reading deep into the night, soaking up the main characteristics, plot twists and the epic scale of it all.
One such story that has been indefinitely engrossing ever since it's inception is the discography found on the deepArtSounds label, which has consistently churned up some truly excellent deep house records over the years. The label began life in 2007 as an offshoot of the iconic Moto Music label, where it became widely known for it's podcast series, and as the heads behind it started thinking about how to further share their musical ethos with the world, a release series was the next step, and thus since 2012 the imprint has served up some of the past decade's most memorable deep house records. Just a quick glance over the names of producers involved with the label over the years should give you a quick indicator of the overarching vibe, and as we dig a little deeper the immediacy of the quality and scope is apparent. The music found within shares this invisible thread that interlinks all of the records together, the emphasis that persists always is exploring the utmost in parameters of the Deep House genre, with the results each time always differing but continually feeding into the imprint's creative vision. Each release shares it's own tale, and as time passes by we only feel further bound to the intricacies and shifts in tone, the odyssey in which we have embarked on only getting more epic as time passes by. The story starts to read like a mindmap through the varying evolutions of Deep House over the years, with the production techniques and creative wills found within resonating from the four walls it was created within and spreading out into the wider consciousness, it's influence feeling like it helped to guide that particular period of house music. As anchor points go in dance music, the music on the deepArtSounds imprint is certainly a sequential reference point when it comes to Deep House in the modern era, it's consistency as a label doing much to lift spirits and expand minds. You could dip back in time to any point, and the music you pluck from the enriching pool is something to treasure, it's inner feel containing a notion that makes you want to explore then explore some more, and therein remains a a feeling that everyone should treasure. There are plenty of memorable moments to highlight in their discography, starting off with the subtle and far reaching vibes of the debut EP, Ernie's 'Origami Town' EP, which arrived in 2012; the gently whispering undulations found on the beautiful 'Inner Vibe' record, produced by Above Smoke with the record landing in 2013; the undulating tones and presence of the 'Pathways & Sidesteps' EP, released by Anthony Nicholson in 2013 also; the lush vibrancy of the 'Pherenike' EP, released by Giorgio Luceri in 2014; the immediacy and completeness of the tones found on the 'Recollections' EP, released by Tominori Hosoya in 2015; the gorgeous unravelling magic contained within the 'Human Nature' record, released by Jenifa Mayanja in 2016; the beauty that inspires us endlessly on the 'Black Inside' LP, released by Zarenzeit in 2016; the future jazzyness that exudes from the Bjak produced 'The Passion's Journey' EP, which landed in 2018; the ever impressive housey tones that vibrate from deep within the 'Deeper Than It Sounds' record, which was released by Melchior Sultana in 2019; and finally, the excellent undertones that resonate from within the 'Tales From Another Day' record, released by Jenifa Mayanja in 2019 also. In all, these records highlight represent but a mere sub thread within a label that has so much to offer, a unique audial experience that cross pollinates many of the prevailing treads within the genre and gives so much back in return. We stand within a sea of fluidity and thought provoking movements, taken aback by the sheer majesty of the spectrum on display that does much to move us in ways that we have never felt before, our preconceptions left at the door as we meander into a space where Deep House feels reimagined, renewed, revitalised. As journeys go, deepArtSounds is one that if you already know, you know, but if this is the beginning of the meeting of trajectories, it's a path that you will never fall away from. Be sure to check out their previous works, they are all utterly transfixing.
Like with so many of the other significant labels of not just our time but in days gone by, the release of VA records helps to contextualise all the wonderful movements that have come before in the past, whilst also hinting at what might flow through the doors next, and with the 'Tera Suave' EP, deepArt has achieved just that. Featuring some of the most intriguing producers to be found in the contemporary scene, this record has it all when it comes to pure quality, with the compositions all very much on point in terms of progression and balance, but it's the manner in which each track stands alone whilst also acting as part of a singular unit which really elevates proceedings. Cosmic Twirl & Reekee, Owen Jay, Trans Of Life and Sofa Talk are all wonderful producers in their own right, and like always with the deepArt imprint, their talents are allowed to shine in the most wondrous of ways, but the spirit in which they all craft music comes together beautifully, intertwining with beauty, vision and feel, as the record begins to feel like the summing up of all the feels which have abounded from the label over the years. Concise, filled to the brim with meaning, beautifully presented and delivered, it's music for the mind and the soul, and with that sentiment lets dive right into this little masterpiece of Deep House....
Up first comes Cosmic Twirl and Reekee with their track 'Hope', and this one begins with the kicks underpinning all manner of exciting drumming patterns indeed. The singular bass note worms it's way through the centre of the track, staying steady amongst a sea of ever evolving rhythm, and before long we are joined by the dynamic chordal progression, with deep pads coming in from the right to rapturous applause. The track continues on in this manner, maintaining a steady sense of scale and beauty, and to add an extra layer of excellence into the mix we see the fast paced high hat begin to occupy the mid line, it's consistent feel contrasting so very well with the conga sounds on both the left and right of the pan. After a quick dip in energy, a key board solo emerges to really kick the track into next gear, it's constant presence moving the track onwards and upwards with a real sense of momentum, with the climax arriving as we go back into the original setup of drums and bass. This segment quickly evolves to showcase an equally compelling piano laden solo line, with the pads coming back into view to give us that deep inner swelling feeling, the whole array of sounds something to truly behold as we meander onwards and upwards through the densities of experience. We maintain a steady presence throughout the final sequences, looking about at all that is on offer to us, wondering how much more this track can offer before it ends, with the keyboard coming back into view one final time before we slink into the night. What an opener. Up next comes Owen Jay with the track 'Upon Entering The Lounge', which features Joe Debono on piano, and this one starts off with an exciting drumming pattern to get us going. The percussion is rhythmically enriching, crafted with numerous levels to give a little bit of an extra kick to the momentum, with a lead chord line throwing itself into the mix alongside the rich bass line, and as a high pitch sweep washes itself over the tops of the track we see the hats come into the mix along with a smattering of rhodes like keys. The key solo then emerges once again to guide the progression onwards, evoking that easy breezy feeling we get with the fluttering of the curtain in front of a Mediterranean view, with the bass line taking the time here to show off it's full range as the breakdown then leads into a gorgeous solo segment. The feel is uptempo and hopeful, playfully moving across the top end of the track, inviting it to lift off and ease through into the next phase of the progression, which sees the cut continue to move between differing outlays that emphasise either the rhythmic foundation or the gorgeous key lines, and these transitions really do help to keep things very interesting throughout. A head nodder of the highest kind, with phenomenal musicianship to boot. Top draw.
Trans Of Life are next with their track 'Shhh', and this one begins with the ever evolving beat to get us going. The drums have a real live vibrancy to them, with the hats and congas getting the groove moving, along with the triple time snare that emerges at all the right moments, and as we loose ourselves in the drums we see the bass line come to the fore alongside the emotionally charged piano flurries. The track becomes more expansive as time passes by, with deep expansive chords moving along the top ends as the piano begins to layer and layer some more, as a sense of climax starts to rush over the composition, a sense of building and building some more as time passes by, which is achieved in the most surprising of way. The density that has been building for some time gets ripped away, leaving all this room in the middle for the track to continue evolving onwards and upwards, and the track continues to build itself up once more from this point. The organ that slides across the peripheries helps to keep the momentum going on strong, our senses looking all over to get a sense of direction within this sea of gorgeous melody and feel, our soul getting lifted up time and time again from the depths to arrive on a cloud somewhere in the distant sky. There's something about this track, it unlocks things inside your mind, damn. To wrap things up, we have Sofa Talk with their track 'Seven Half Steps', and this one starts off with the repeating chord and scattered drumming pattern to get us going. The track keeps a low profile, not giving too much away until the ingredients fall into place, and we are more than happy to see how this all comes together, as elements fly in and out of view, skipping across the foundation with a glee in order to milk out the full potential of this progression. The track then emerges into this gorgeous skipping house 2 step kinda beat, with the melodics shifting endlessly within it's spatial outline, crafting this kind of lucid momentum that dips in and out of reality and dreams, a filtered excursion through the membranes of musical expressionism and into the heart of it all. The progression is something to behold, masterfully pulled off by Sofa Talk as we transcend the earthly plains and arrive in a space where we feel held within a giant pair of hands, safe and warm as all manner of continued melodic sequences start to flow our way. This track has it all, and so does this record for that matter - you will find everything you could ever want on this piece of wax, truly stunning.
deepArtSounds have not only carved out a space for themselves within the Deep House Market, but they have set up shop, slinging sounds to other parts of the overall sound that have only furthered the genre and it's many facets. This is true enough with their previous releases, but it is really epitomised by this collection of tunes, that really showcase just what the label is about - mind boggling, expressive and emotionally charged house music, with the cuts all wrapped up in a beautifully considered package that also sees musicality reign supreme. It's Deep House in all it's splendour, reaching high and low but never going too far off the ground, it's spirit maintaining in close proximity to the earthly plain but making sure we get to see the fullest extents of the expanses being aimed for. Four experiences, all connected together by the powers that bought them together, and the invisible essence that is found in all the heads behind the tunes, and when combined you have something truly unstoppable. A real gem of a record.
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