Maxi Mill, Lost And Found / Speed Balance Weight

[Rush Hour Recordings]

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It’s been a while since we heard anything new from Maxim Yesodharan, the Amsterdam-based producer primarily known as Maxi Mill. First delving in studio work with Tom Trago behind the scenes, he continued with a promising debut on Rush Hour’s Voyage Direct Series in 2011. This year, he returns to the label with another 12″, and surprisingly, both tracks find him at the almost exact spot he left off. “Lost And Found,” a full-fledged prog odyssey, sways to and fro at an easygoing tempo, its multidirectional percussive bounce barely touching the ground. Weightless and drizzling with beatific glissandos, the track’s magnificent and spacious FM synth bass line are further warmed by barely audible tape hiss. A further thrill comes courtesy of the stuttering vocal sample stating “use the power,” shooting up and tying itself in love knots around the rhythmic backbone. Flowing intuitively through a number of 80s melodic motifs, the composition is clearly indebted to the pervading aesthetic of Mill’s fertile musical surroundings, peers, and influences. But the way he blends samples, beats and synths, allowing different sections of the track to breathe freely, is inimitably his own, refusing to become an exercise in retro.

On the flip, “Speed Balance Weight” turns out to be more propulsive but less memorable of the two. With self-assured, syncopated drum programming, pierced with indistinguishable vocal stabs and few chords or guitar licks for spartan decoration, the song basks in a kind of perpetual twilight, lingering on dusky atmospherics, taking some drastic turns, but mostly relying on a familiar bass line for momentum. It’s a likeable track, and paying attention to the details, there’s no denying the Dutchman’s subtle production skills. Unfortunately, bland workouts around a few melodic ideas render it sadly pale in comparison to its predecessor. Either evidence of Maxi Mill’s breadth or a testament to his limitations, the sum of both tracks still contains the playful invention and charm that made him a favorite a few years ago. But overall, one cannot escape the impression this fun 12″ is only a footnote to what he has in store for the future, and merely a solid 2014 liftoff for the Voyage Direct Series.

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