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Apple Juice - Raving Together (mp3) - Synth pads, requisitioned from a 1950's vision of the future, open with a Germanic voice intoning "for one priceless moment, in the whole history of man, all the people are one...raving together". Echoey one-note stab noise (particularly all-encompassing on headphones) and then the boshy kick drum comes in. The bare bones percussion of Eurorave bolt themselves on (melody and texture being the main attraction) preparing for the rolling off-beat bass. One of those dance music cliches I never get sick of, there's just something to that kick-bass-kick-bass pump that awakens something deep inside of me. Maybe it's a phantasm of memory back to the Germanic tribes slaughtering their way through Europe to sack Rome. Or maybe I just like my pleasures simple. Whatever. The layers of melody interwine, the signal note slices through the air, sharp as a blade, a piano line twists in and around the kick like a graceful and sober girl cutting her way through the dancefloor delirium. Above it all is the main arpeggiated riff that emerges from the breakdown not with an explosion, but a shimmer, sparkling like a waterfall on a summer day.
Xavi Escolano - D.a.f.y.k. (mp3) - This one, too, opens with those peculiar synthetically melancholy mid-90's Eurorave strings. Like Robocop on a mountain top trying to remember genuine emotion. Then, well, you know, whomping fast kick, pumping bass and that shrivelled percussion, the frame that contains the layers of sound. Then one of those ridiculous English-language samples that non-English speaking dance music producers (in this case, Spanish) seem to love. 'The eye of the king'? The sort of thing that you hear on a dancefloor and stop for a second, look at your friend and raise an eyebrow. But not for too long, because the 303 line has arrived. Despite being possibly the most overused sound in dance music, for me there is nothing to match it. On a big soundsystem it comes across, all at once, as angular, organic, and mechanical. Dry ice as sound. Psychedelia as a coldly inhuman command to stomp. The main riff is basic, simple, but so sublime. A single, pulsing chord, shadowed by its fractionally later echo, that floats over all else, over the jackhammer rhythm track, around the screaming 303 line, under the cloudy, gaseous presence of the strings. Slowly all the elements subtract themselves from the track, leaving only the rejected drunk's attack on a wall of a kick and the feeblest trace of the melody.