Tom Trago, Voyage Direct Remixes Part 2

[Rush Hour]


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Last year’s Voyage Direct album saw Amsterdam’s Tom Trago manipulate his disco-house to fit a variety of templates, establishing himself as a producer unafraid to cross genre boundaries for dance floor success. The first edition of remixes for Voyage Direct yielded fairly disparate remixes by the likes of Motor City Drum Ensemble and Actress, and so it’s of little surprise that the second features a similar mélange of material, this time by four fellow Amsterdammers. The results represent the distinct vibe of Rush Hour’s local stable: clean-cut but unafraid to freak out, one reverential ear to dance music’s past, the other to its future.

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The EP opens with Boris Werner’s remix of “Lost In The Streets Of NYC,” which places the original’s drowsy chords in a slightly more energetic deep house structure. Its dance floor melancholia is somewhat reminiscent of DJ Sprinkles, an extended nostalgia trip complete with night noise, just enough echo, and a vague warbling about “dancing again” that places it somewhere between the actual club and the memory of it. Next, Aardvarck remixes “On the Side” in a throbbing EBM style. The slow thump and grinding arpeggios of the original are compressed into something considerably more sinister, with pitched-up unintelligible squeals occasionally breaking through the mêlée. San Proper adds some serious oomph to the plodding “Use Me,” essentially remixing it in the style of a loopy, driving house edit. The outcome, bolstered by a relentless disco bass line, is completely ecstatic and busy — he simply doesn’t let up, consistently tweaking the equalizer, peak-of-the-night style.

Closing the EP is Sotu The Traveller’s remix of “Voyage Direct.” At first plaintive, its synth line steadily begins to swell; as it grows in confidence, the percussion follows suit, shifting from slow 4/4 to a more dynamic broken house shuffle, eventually flirting with tropical syncopations. Archaic video game melodies brush up against the type of mood swings that have characterized Falty DL’s recent output, stuck somewhere between dubstep and house. It’s easily the most innovative thing here. The track’s freneticism is a fitting conclusion to a release that sounds wholly of its time, providing a glimpse at an adrenalized, glossy future.

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