Although Midnight Express is a journey through Dubfunk’s different shades, we can easily identify the aesthetic that ties together the EP. The first track highlights very detailed production with an unconventional mix of minimal and progressive house aspects, while the second is a deep house banger designed for the peak hour of the dance floor. The third track steals it, clearly influenced by rock and synth-wave with vocals stretched along the whole track.
First track Midnight Express places field recordings over lush pads. A beat stripped intro gives us the feeling that Dubfunk is trying to experiment away from the standard house form, and the field samples come together in a recurring loop that create a wonderfully weird groove. This production is the most mature, rich and subtle of the EP. The use of reverb literally makes the listener picture these sounds in an open space, while still being able to carve a place for each element in the mix. The pads have a lot of depth and give the feeling that they were sourced from a real woman’s voice.
Second track Alone on the Road is bass heavy with a fat bass line, resembling a lot of UK deep house. Layered synths and intermittent echoes pull you into a psychedelic cave-like atmosphere, calling to mind dark melodic house artists of the Life & Death and Diynamic imprints - although it is more along the lines of deep and progressive house. On the downside, the track doesn’t ever quite come alive due to a lack of movement.
The final track Dreamers has lots of groove. We can see the clear influence of rock and specifically the timbre and vocal style of The Beatles. The human element is clearly visible in this track: real drum fills, synth stabs that sound like horns and subtle pads made to imitate the noise feedback that comes from a microphone. The long emotive breakdown builds beautifully with classic rock bass and ends with an easily mixable beat.
This is a strong EP containing some well crafted and artistic elements. The merging of different genres clearly shows the influences of the producer, which span a wide spectrum. The EP would have been more appealing if the artist had more carefully chosen and processed all of his elements, as some of them show a slightly less refined taste. It would have strengthened the interesting production methods and choice of form and presented it to a larger audience, as some might have evolved from progressive house sounds into something more subtle. Regardless, it is a super fun listen and we look forward to hear what he will do next!
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