Earth Trax - LP1

  • Pad-swept house bangers for bittersweet dance floor moments.
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  • Bartosz Kruczyński is a master of the sad banger. In the sector of house music dominated by labels like Shall Not Fade and Lobster Theremin, there are few better producers. He's built a catalogue defined by the sounds of pan pipes, New Age pads, yearning vocals and sprightly breakbeats, all arranged in a manner more likely to elicit dejected head-nodding than moves on the dance floor. He's one of the leading producers of a style that renders mawkish-seeming sounds in profound emotional hues. Listening through his discography can feel like browsing an IKEA catalogue—each record tries on a different style or motif with functional flair. But that's not faint praise, since Kruczyński does this with skill. He's got an ear for heart-tugging melodies. In that vein, his first album sums up his milieu: house in sepia shades, tinged with regret. Kruczyński's past work for Shall Not Fade has been especially moving. That feeling carries over to LP1. Though it begins with a gut-punching breakbeat in "I'm Not Afraid," it's weighed down by a minor-key melodies, while its vocal seems more desperate than affirmative. On "Adhocracy," '90s trance leads are offset by a serotonin-drained melody. In addition to writing melodies that stick in your head, Kruczyński has a gift for detail that makes even simple tunes plush with feeling. LP1 is apparently inspired by post-punk and coldwave, though you can only hear that in the robotic electro of "Copies Of Copies," whose metallic drums would sound right at home on Dark Entries. This is the closest thing to a downside on LP1: Kruczyński is deep in his comfort zone, making tracks that play to his strengths while showing us little that sounds unfamiliar. But if LP1 is simply an album-length version of his last few EPs, then it seems unfair to hold that against him.
  • Tracklist
      01. I'm Not Afraid 02. Deep Dive 03. Pandora's Box 04. Full Throttle 05. Adhocracy 06. Fade Away 07. Denial 08. Copies Of Copies 09. Your Fading Other 10. Mechanisms 11. Squawk Box (Digital Only) 12. Occupy (Digital Only) 13. I'm Not Afraid (Radio Mix) (Digital Only)