John Barera & Matt Gavris, Passenger EP


[Dirt Crew Recordings]

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It’s amazing how much attention a big-league DJ can direct towards a smaller player simply by spinning their tracks. It’s no wonder PR agents spend so much time trying to woo these make-or-break figures and pressing music onto them. Their jobs depend on it, after all. Based on pretty much every interview she’s ever done, Steffi doesn’t seem to have much time for things like PR. But like it or not, she has the same power to boost records and their producers. Case in point: John Barera, who appeared alongside Will Martin on the Panorama Bar 05 mix with the boisterous “Reality.” I’ve no idea how much Barera contributed to the finished product, whether that’s the sort of music he usually makes, or anything else. He’s from Boston and runs a label called Supply Records, I’ve since found out. And yet, after loving “Reality” to bits, just seeing the name again — even as part of another collab — made me want to investigate further.

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As it turns out, the five-track Passenger is pretty different fare, serving up house in spacey, proggy, and classic varieties. That first adjective is the most vital, if not for the sheer expansiveness of the entire EP, then for the dreamy spacewalk chords of “Watch,” “Signal,” and “Galaxy No. 1.” Their slow evolutions and shiny finish take care of the proggy part. In “Passenger,” a similar mood is spun by nimble arpeggios not too far removed from some of Petar Dundov’s leads. It may be an unfair comparison, given how the Croatian’s music isn’t often made for dance floors, but it does show how much complexity and character could have been achieved both here, and on the record as a whole. The classic-sounding “Individualist” (exclusive to Beatport), for instance, is well-balanced, nicely-structured and generally a lovely listen, but it doesn’t fully live up to its name. It’s emblematic of the Passenger EP. But then again, perhaps that’s just because the five tracks pursue such similar aims. With fewer cuts or just some more diversity, it seems like Passenger could have kicked a hell of a lot harder.

Disco Nihilist  on October 8, 2013 at 6:56 AM

I am glad to see that the Supply Records crew are getting some love. They are a bunch of really nice people.

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