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  • Filed under: Review
  • 02/25/2013

∆ ∆ Skyway EP

Having nurtured the careers of Gerry Read, Felix Lenferink, and Presk over the brief 18 months since its inception, Fourth Wave—the experimental house- and techno-oriented offshoot of Ramp Recordings—has already proven itself to be a fertile breeding ground for leftfield production talent. Greek producer Dimitris Dimas (a.k.a ∆ ∆—pronounced Delta Delta) is the latest addition to that carefully curated fold and—if this six-track collection of hazy, melodic house is anything to go by—it looks like the label may have another gem on its hands.

In essence, Dimas' music occupies the middle ground between the nostalgic, Chicago-indebted experimentation that 100% Silk trades in and the rich, Balearic-tinged house of John Talabot's fIN. Although he constructs beats out of drum hits that sound as if they've been sourced from overplayed disco 12"s and composes in euphoric keys usually reserved for compilation CDs that feature stock photos of Ibiza sunsets on the cover, everything here is executed in a delicately off-kilter manner. The EP's centerpiece "You" is probably the most obvious example of this balance; its synth strings and crudely cut soul vocals owe an obvious debt to vintage house and garage, yet nothing sits within the mix quite as one would expect it to. Over the course of the song, its lead riff drifts ever so slightly in and out of sync with the beat, phrases begin and end in unexpected places, and the main vocal occupies proceedings with disorienting dominance.

Elsewhere too, Dimas works unique touches into his vintage house template. "The Cleansing" marries an understated, shuffling 4x4 rhythm to a heart-wrenchingly melodic lead line that sounds like a crudely synthesized string section playing in reverse. Similarly, the EP's title track takes a collection of simple, lo-fi synth sounds and loops them into six minutes of hypnotically repetitive deep house. It's testament to Dimas' obvious skill as a producer that—given this curious blend of accessibility and rough-edged experimentation in his music—the tracks that make up Skyway don't end up as a jarring mess. Instead, he manages to skillfully combine familiar sounds with unfamiliar textures to create something that is unique and engaging, yet reassuringly soulful.

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