- Scuba's Phenix trilogy has made the veteran producer seem puzzled, like he didn't know where to go after 2012's big-room hat trick of Personality, "Talk Torque" and "Hardbody." The series has had a slapdash feel, but the third instalment tightens things up, with Paul Rose returning to the careful balance of atmospherics and melodies that mark his best work.
Phenix 3 presents two non-dance diversions, both of which feel more substantial than previous Phenix dalliances. "Silence" shows off Rose's fondness for mechanical sounds—it's a sparse expanse of sputtering rhythms and hissing noises, while depressive melodies bear the influence of Hotflush associate Recondite. The closing "Fade," on the other hand, feels like the kind of tune that could have kicked off a Global Underground mix CD from the '90s, continuing Rose's not-so-secret love affair with the cheesier aesthetics of that decade. So does "Plateau," a straight-ahead techno jam with piston-slamming drums and curlicues of melody.
It's "Nineteen Eighty Eight" that shows the most promise. You could call it a throwback to the time when Rose's dubstep-techno fusion was at its most potent, but the otherwise no-frills 4/4 bounce keeps it from getting too nostalgic. This one feels like the first move in the right direction in a series that has seen Rose take a step back from the trance-inspired Ibiza heights he scaled back in 2012.
A2 Nineteen Eighty