- Polish producer Bartosz Kruczyński has been a constant shapeshifter since debuting as The Phantom in 2010. He's an artist who has a bass-loaded grime instrumental featured in a Oneman mix one year, and then follows it with an album of ambient and Balearic house the next. His latest alias, Earth Trax, might be his most club-focused project yet. It works with a simple and smooth house sound that's as groovy as it's melodic. There's also a decidedly old-school approach to the sound choices and arrangements, but that never feels like the point on Los Conquistadores. Sure, the pan flutes and breaks in "Flowers" are '90s dance music staples, but the way Kruczyński uses them as accents in the rich backdrop is more inspired than straight nostalgia.
Most of these five tracks are inspired by the deeper ends of Chicago and Detroit-style house, and are pulled off elegantly. The title track, with its watery pads, gentle bass notes and echoing soundscape, uses these tropes directly, whereas "Yakutsk" launches them into the cosmos for a beatless whorl of synth and piano. Those moments when Kruczyński takes his inspirations to new places are the most interesting. EP standout "Electricity" sets a slowed-down electro beat at the center of its somber synth funk, which strikes an affecting chord somewhere between Lindstrøm and Lord Of The Isles. The guttural low-end that drives "Soma"'s heavy drum-machine stomp is captivating on its own, and the rhythmic, soft-focus tones that gather around it further amplify the allure. For all the classy references he can pull off, Kruczynski fully delivers when subverting his influences.
A2 Los Conquistadores