Various Artists - Evoque (Oxygen Records, January 2010)

Author: pr0fane
Date: Feb 4, 2010
Views: 1747
Area: Music Reviews

Czech-based label Oxygen Records return with a digital download release, featuring artists like NASA, Zyce and Flegma, E-Clip and Sound Field.


Artist: Various Artists
Title: Evoque – compiled by Djane Nem
Label: Oxygen Records
Format: MP3/Wave digital download
Released: January 2010

Review:

After a fairly long break, the label Oxygen Records, originally originating from the Czech Republic, is jumping on the digital download bandwagon with their newest compilation, “Evoque”. Some might still remember their older releases on CD, which included albums by artists like Setherian, Sound Field and Spectra, and a fine collection of morning full on/progressive compilations.

As mentioned, “Evoque” is a purely digital download compilation, which can be purchased as the usual places such as Beatport, and compiled by the label-DJ Nem. She’s one of the founders of the label, and with previous appearances at festivals like Universo Paralello, Boom and Omni, one can safely say that she’s one of the more well-known female DJ’s on the scene.


01. Sound Field – Spring City Rush [128 BPM]
The Israeli producer Andrey Jakovlev was quite active some years ago with his projects ProSect, Sonify and Sound Field, but has been quite quiet lately. “Spring City Rush” is therefore a refreshing reminder of his very organic and melodic sound. It’s a quite laidback tune without the massive grooves we’ve come accustomed to in modern progressive trance, but instead there’s a lot more focus on the mellow stabs, pads and chords, which form a very engaging atmosphere. A great, mellow progressive house/trance tune for the mornings or sunset sessions.

02. Zyce and Flegma – Drive Active [133 BPM]
In the last couple of years Serbia has started to play an important role on the progressive psytrance scene. Based around the Tesseract collective, a group of friends have formed a lot of projects, such as Ectima, Nerso, Zyce and Flegma, and their tracks have appeared on practically every compilation from the major German progressive labels in the last year. “Drive Active” is a collaboration between the projects Zyce and Flegma, and it follows in the footsteps of many other tunes from the collective. The production is really good and the pumping, rolling groove provides a very powerful backbone for a light progressive tune tailored for the open air festival floors.

03. Lone Ranger - Undergroove [130 BPM]
I haven’t been able to find any information about the act Lone Ranger to be honest. “Undergroove” is probably the most distinct track on the compilation though – it has a quite unusual, bouncy rhythm which works really well, and the long, sustained and phasing leads provide a really nice atmosphere. It does go on for quite a bit too long though in my opinion, so I found myself losing interest towards the end.

04. Ritmo – Rapture (I-Drop Remix) [138 BPM]
Next up is the fastest track on the compilation; an I-Drop remix of “Rapture”, from Ritmos debut-album “Disharmonic Silence”. I-Drop has slipped under my radar up till now, but has previously released tracks and albums on labels like Dooflex/Doof. At first his remix for “Rapture” is based around an offbeat bassline, but as the electric guitar-like leads are introduced, it slowly gets more intense, ending with an almost full on, rolling bassline. Good remix.

05. Kalimax – Demons (NASA Remix) [135 BPM]
Next up is NASA’s remix of Kalimax’s “Demons”, which was originally released on the “Inner Circle” compilation on Tribal Vision Records back in 2005. NASA’s style of music is a somewhat fresh breeze in the vast scene of progressive music – his basslines are usually warm and big, and there are lots of driving arps, heavily reverbed elements and trancy pads which give associations to music from an older era. This remix is no exception: it’s a big-room trancy tune which, despite being quite large in sound, never really goes totally full on, but restrains the energy.

06. E-Clip – Ocean Light [134 BPM]
Last track is by another Serbian artist from the Tesseract collective, and it certainly finishes the compilation with a bang. This is my favourite track on the compilation – it has that popular, solid and progressive/full on bassline, but the big, driving and almost goatrance-ish lead is a nice twist, and the atmosphere is deep, yet at the same time uplifting, without getting cheesy. Also, the stereo-imaging and the big-room reverbs are working very well here.


Bottom line:

Despite that digital download releases has gotten a reputation for lower quality control than releases on CD, I must say that Oxygen Records have succeeded in maintaining a fairly high quality on “Evoque”. None of the tracks really stand out as being bad, and a few of them (especially E-Clip’s “Ocean Light”) are really good tunes. Despite the fact that the release only contains 6 tracks, I must also say it’s quite a varied bunch of progressive trance tunes – it doesn’t just stick to one kind of progressive psy, but has both faster as well as slower stuff.

Generally a fine release.


Favorites:

1, 5, 6 (!)


Verdict:

7/10


Links:

Buy the release here: https://www.beatport.com/en-US/html/content/release/detail/212107/VA%20Evoque%20Compiled%20By%20Djane%20Nem
Oxygen Records website: http://www.oxygenrecords.com/
Oxygen Records on Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/oxygenrecs1

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