- Despite being home to a solidly established psy-trance scene, Tel Aviv is finally also becoming an exporter of quality house and techno. But while most attention has been focused on Guy Gerber, Shlomi Aber and Gel Abril thus far, Guy J's debut artist album, Esperanza should vault him into the same league as that celebrated trio. In fact, it might just be the finest album to come out of Tel Aviv so far.
Like his peers, Guy J serves up a mix of the aforementioned house and techno, and sprinkles it with a touch of trance and ambient. But whereas Late Bloomers by Gerber was a collection of different styles, Esperanza seamlessly blends these genres into one smooth sound, and that's where its strength lies. Sure, some tracks lean more towards one genre than another, but at its heart there's an engaging and playful undercurrent that weaves everything together.
Throughout Esperanza ambient tracks, like the subtle opener "Indigo Fields," sit in perfect harmony alongside darker dance floor tracks. Just listen, for example, to how easily the spaced out bleeps of "2 Steps" flows from the wake of "Mikro," the hardest track on the album.
Future single "Geko," a blistering marriage of minimal and melody, and the emotional "I See You Next Time" evince the future arrival of a mature neo-trance, in much the same way as last year's "Mexico Can Wait" by Roland Klinkenberg. Elsewhere "Save Me" is a quirky piece of house that you could imagine rocking terrace bars well into 2009. The title track, which also happens to be the finale, seems to pull all of J's skills together for one last meltdown of swirling synths. There's not much to criticize here, but the retro sounds of both "Druma" and "Love Is Not Alone" sound slightly dated compared to the contemporary feel showcased on the rest of the album.
If you're a dark percussion hound this isn't likely to be your thing. Esperanza is all about atmospheric instrumentals that, rather than harking back to bygone sounds, signal a bright future for melodic electronic music. For those who like it deep, Esperanza is inspiring and truly immersive.
01. Indigo Fields
05. 2 Steps
06. Under Pressure
07. Love Is Not Alone
08. Save Me
09. I See You Next Time
11. 7 Steps