Vahagn - Relapse

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  • Anyone paying attention to deep house over the past couple of years will have noticed that there's a glut of one-chord tunes out there; most of them are pretty one-dimensional. Not so "Relapse," by Portugal's Vahagn. The gist of the track is a single augmented chord played on the first downbeat of every bar, hardly the most dynamic motif. It ain't static though: drop the needle anywhere in the track, and no two points will sound quite the same—even if you don't notice the changes happening in real time. The interior of the track is a forest of movement, with contrapuntal arpeggios, soft synth bleats and carefully sculpted percussion driving it like a breeze scatters maple seeds. (The arps, cut from a similar cloth as those in Martin Dawson's "Sunday Smoking," are particularly lovely.) As far as one-trick ponies go, this one is best in show. Dana Ruh's remix isn't a radical intervention, but she toughens the tune up considerably by sweeping away the cobwebbed middle frequencies and augmenting the rhythm with punchy 808s and judiciously used sampled drum fills; what it sacrifices of the original's dreamy spirit it makes up for in oomph. Nick Chacona's mix offers the best of both worlds: slightly slower, it returns the emphasis to soft, syncopated chords, but it's got a more powerful deep house groove than Vahagn's version. The real coup is the long middle section, where fresh changes give new life to the steadfast arpeggios, using one chord as the starting point for restrained flights of harmonic fancy.
  • Tracklist
      A Relapse B Relapse (Dana Ruh Remix) Digital: Relapse (Nick Chacona Remix)