It's been a fair old while since the last full-length from French techno pioneer Olivier "Oxia" Raymond; in fact, his only previous album was released eight years ago, way back in 2004. Tides Of Mind bears little resemblance to that set, which bristled with aggressive electronic intent. Instead, Raymond delivers at set that borrows as much from deep house and Germanic minimalism as traditional techno. Of course, there's the odd trip into skewed downtempo pop territory (see the dreamy Mesparrow collaboration "Travelling Fast") and some deviation from the 4/4 template - see "Sway" - but for the most part Raymond keeps the vibe deep, melodic and surprisingly soulful.
The music of Olivier 'Oxia' Raymond has undergone more style changes than one of Liberace's Las Vegas shows, yet on this release for German label 8 Bit, he mines the sound of his early productions. "Unity (Up Mix)", with its rolling groove, booming bass and tough drums, could have easily fitted on a Good Life record. Elsewhere, he drops the tracky, tribal house of "Soulsa", which is more in keeping with 8 Bit's usual approach. The Down version of the title track is in a similar vein, but the release takes a sideways shift with Steffen Deux's disco-infused take on "Unity", its jazzy keys populated by a repetitive vocal stab.
Mihalis Safras Material Series is back and that can only mean one thing: adrenalised main room tech house. And they're certainly not messing around on this one! They go out all guns blazing from the start with Frenchmen Oxia and Olivier Giacomotto's "Feeling" getting a makeover by the latter, turning into a deep tech house cruiser that's perfect to set the mood in the early hours; killer breakdown on this too, you've been warned! On Russ Yallop/Volkoder's "Hydro" (Volkoder remix) it's one seriously adrenalised peak time anthem with a craving for the acid life: fine bys us! Finally Toronto's finest Carlo Lio gives "The Organ Track" a makeover like only he can on this dub techno laden monster that rolls through the speakers like a steam train: expect the likes of Paco Osuna and Nick Curly to be smashing out this one this summer.
Starting out as a digital-only label before blossoming into the distinguished operation it is today, Audiojack's Gruuv label has been host to high-end work from names both familiar and unfamiliar over the years. In celebrating five years of sterling operation, the imprint hits volume three of its festivities with another killer selection of artists on offer. Oxia and Yannick Baudino team up for the plush, steady-rolling tech house funk of "Simple Life", while A1 Bassline brings a bouncy, tom-infused swinger to bear with the addictive "Hold". Tuff City Kids have their unabashed old skool hat on for the hooky chord stabs and breakbeat chops of "Taddler", and Kyodai mixes things up with a broken beat twist on euphoric deep house music.
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