- In the DJ booth, the young Glaswegian Denis Sulta is a boisterous character, partial to double-handed fist-pumps and unruly antics. The music he plays—mostly house, some disco—is full of big moments and vibrant sounds. Ditto his productions, which, almost without exception, are Ibiza-sized bangers, popular with DJs like Jackmaster, Skream and Annie Mac. But to dismiss Sulta, real name Hector Barbour, as all swagger and no subtlety downplays his considerable talents, especially when it comes to his tracks. At his best, he makes some of the most considered and distinctive club music around.
The Nein Fortiate EP, the first release on Barbour's new Sulta Selects label, is his boldest statement yet. It comprises "Nein Fortiate" and "Dubelle Oh XX (JVIP)," peak-time weapons that rank among last summer's biggest tracks. (Four Tet and Ben UFO rinsed "Nein Fortiate" heavily, while "Dubelle Oh XX (JVIP)" was the centrepiece of Jackmaster's DJ-Kicks mix.) Both tunes are powered by the kind of uplifting melodies that have become Barbour's trademark. On "Nein Fortiate," a snaking tune rises and falls dramatically in tone, while on the B-side, two jolly synth lines bob and weave in and out of one another, as if in conversation. The way the melodies sparkle and move keeps them sounding fresh.
The EP's most daring moment belongs to "Dubelle Oh XX (JVIP)." Midway through, the melodies suddenly collapse into silence. Then comes a flash of rave stabs, followed by a thundercloud of kicks, drum and claps. Barbour says this sudden shift was inspired by an argument between two people on a rainy night in Glasgow. "If it makes you feel uncomfortable, that's good, that's the whole point," he said during a recent interview. Curveballs like these speak to Barbour's playful and fearless approach. It's refreshing to hear.
A Nein Fortiate
B Dubelle Oh XX (JVIP)