John Daly, Solar Sailing

[One Track Records]

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It’s been four years since John Daly started One Track Records so he could release his own music. At face value, the concept seems a bit gimmicky: one original song per record, with various reworks (e.g. beatless, dub) to back it up. With the Irishman’s sharp arrangements, though, the label’s nine records to date have rarely felt padded. The alternate versions are often as enticing as the main mixes, in fact. Though the catalogue` is clearly aimed at DJs, you don’t have to be one to find good value within.

On number 10, Solar Sailing, that statement doesn’t fully ring true, even if all the versions are great. The “Full Tide Mix” is a spring-loaded catapult to the cosmos, where majestic nebulae slide by in blissful slow motion. The thing might be underpinned by a pretty deadly kick/bass combo, but its huge swathes of melody make it feel more like Detroit’s typical version of utopia than anything. “The Deep Mix” plunges even further into the narcotic space fog, golden strings singing out through the void and moving the track’s musical center of gravity upwards, slightly away from the feet.

Plenty of artists release single-sided 12″s, on the proviso that just one track is strong enough to carry the whole record. That’d probably work here too, but the sheer similarity of the “Full Tide” and “Deep” mixes feels more like a wasted opportunity than anything. This fact is highlighted by the “Rhythm Section,” which strips away all the melody, resulting in a pretty robust tool. Of course, the last cut has limited home-listening appeal, but in spite of this and the similarity of the other two, the elegant Solar Sailing is worthy 10th record for One Track.

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