Grum makes his Anjunabeats debut with another solid indication he’s ready for the big league. ‘U’ is an enigmatic, progressive stormer that pitches its flag somewhere ambiguously between house and trance, maximising appeal for both scenes. Led by a rich, colourful electro synth hook, it’s backed by a driving house kick that maximises dancefloor functionality. More importantly though is how Grum has tapped into that mysterious essence that defined early progressive, making ‘U’ one of the standout electro/progressive records of the year so far.
Being released on the anniversary of his untimely death, Hyperdub release the final EP from DJ Rashad’s production vaults, saving the best till last. ‘CCP2’ feat DJ Spinn sets the tone, a dope soul sample atop a rolling juke frame, followed by the huge vocal-led ‘Cause I Know U Feel’ which is as close as you get to a hands-in-the-air “last tune” with juke. The mood then switches with ‘Taso’ and ‘Do Not Fuck’. The former gets hyper trappy, whilst the latter is an intense footwork beat excursion drenched in paranoia.
Sobota has deftly avoided being cornered into any particular genre, producing drum & bass to techno and everything in-between, though with ‘Triangles’ he unleashes his trance chops with a record that’s unashamedly grandiose. There’s a hands-in-the-air vibe to the harmonies, and while the deeper grooves keep it one step away from full-blown floaty euphoric trance, that step is a defining one. An impressive and distinct move for the MicroCastle stable.
Sasha plays a classic bait-and-switch trick with ‘Ether’ by opening on a hefty note of techno, before evolving into a swirly progressive monster in the second half, the brittle sounds giving way to delicious cyclones of melody, demonstrating again he’s not afraid at the moment to go for the jugular. There are elements of a return to the euphoric sounds that defined his earlier years, without the danger of it feeling retrospective.