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13 Feb 12
Played by: Visti, Shadow Dancer, Roberto Rodriguez, Juno Recommends Minimal/Tech House, Juno Recommends Downtempo
Review: E/F is the third in Awanto3 and Tom Trago's 13 part Alfabet series, with "Hell Of Samba" markedly darker than the efforts thus far, taking a brutal techno manifesto and re-shaping it to a slow-house track. The manic, cyclical hats and vaporous drones make for a thoroughly unsettling, and mightily effective, atmosphere. "Too Shy" meanwhile shakes things up further with a staggered beat, baroque orchestrations and what sounds like strange beatbox bass stabs. It's maybe not what you expect from the series, but it certainly spices things up.
01 Oct 12
Review: An excellent and largely overlooked release here from Studio Soulrock, released on vinyl last year and finally hitting the digital domain. Contained within you'll find two tracks from Awanto 3 aka Steven Van Hulle, namely the dusty "I Love Hugh" and funked-up "Good Old Days" (the latter featuring Rush Hour stalwart Tom Trago). Rounding off the release is a cut from hirsute legend Aardvarck , with "Tape" a typically rugged journey through demented sci-fi house atmospherics.
31 Oct 11
Review: The new Crossover Series from the Sound Pellegrino crew makes for a canny and eye opening endeavour, offering the chance for like-minded producers from different paths the chance to collaborate together with the aim of "crossing the invisible bridges of the great house music archipelago". The standard for the series is set truly high on the inaugural release that sees Alex Bok Bok Sushon team up with Tom Trago for the Night Voyage Tool Kit EP. The six tracks see Trago and Sushon deliver heavily, stripped down drum trax informed by a love of Dancemania era Chicago House. At times the results are playful; see the opening track "Pathfinder" - little more than the duo checking out how pliable the rubbery analogue tone at the core is, with drums stripped down to a hissing undercurrent. More structure is evident on the skeletal "White Type R", which slowly unfurls into compressed head jack material, though that playful sense of melody creeps through intermittently. As the EP progresses, the overarching feeling you get from this release is two producers becoming increasingly comfortable working together - see how the vocoder led "Time Master" unexpectedly bursts into a percolating 23rd century p-funk out. It's obviously just the start of much more from the duo, with Trago revealing the duo will continue their Night Voyage endeavours in some shape or form.
30 Apr 07
01 Apr 13
Played by: Anja Schneider, Resident Advisor, Roger Sanchez, Christian Smith, David Morales, Fur Coat
Review: Drafting in the vocal talents of Footprintz and Seth Troxler for a pair of catchy floor-friendly numbers, Subb An makes his first appearance on Visionquest in what seems like an inevitable move after years of graft for the likes of Crosstown Rebels, Spectral Sound and 20:20 Vision. "Rain" is an emotive, floaty variation on electro given a synth-pop twist by Footprintz's Anglophile singing. Alongside Tom Trago, Subb An works a typically whacky turn from Troxler into a simmering house jam full of dubby chord echoes and submerged strings for maximum tension with little release. It's a sturdy release custom built for the modern house music fraternity.
30 Nov 12
Played by: Visti, Spiller, Kid Who, Max Riolo (Digital Imprint Trax), Soul Mekanik, Dionigi, Salon Acapulco, Kono Vidovic
Review: To date, Italian wonky disco revivalists The Barking Dogs have released a serious amount of material in a relatively short space of time. This four-tracker for Gomma, though, is arguably their strongest to date. While it still bears the sonic hallmarks of their Italo-fixated work, it sits somewhere between analogue disco and shuffling deep house. Amsterdam producer Tom Trago contributes barely audible vocals to the dubbed-out analogue deep house shuffle of "Your High", while fellow Dutchman Young Marco adds some excellent keys to the late night oddness of the EP's standout track, the epic, alien-sounding "Margherita". There's also some ragging, mutated strangeness in the shape of electro-disco weird-out "Ebony".
28 Mar 11
Played by: Shadow Dancer
Review: If Tom Trago's debut album, Voyage Direct, was an impressive exercise in developing a signature style, then this sophomore set has clearly been designed to show the sheer scale of the Dutchman's growing ambition. It's almost as if Trago is setting out his stall: he's not just a simple disco/house fusionist, but a musical alchemist with more strings to his bow than a twelve-string player with an impressive collection of lutes, mandarins and sitars. The 15 tracks that make up Iris include forays into noughties hip-house (Tyree Cooper collaboration "What You Do"), crisp, late night electro-funk ("Suckers For Fools", with Olivier Day Soul), ambient soundscapes ("Soon In A Cinema"), rush-inducing Joy Orbison-ish future garage ("Joys Of Choice") and, curiously, hooky, radio-friendly pop-house. Of course, there are some typical Trago moments ("Scent Of Heaven", the Dam Funk-does-deep house vibes of "Space Balloon"), but these are sandwiched between a kaleidoscopic array of rainbow-tinted songs and collaborations (Romanthony, Meikbar and San Proper also feature).
08 Mar 11
Review: To quote Charlie Sheen, Tom Trago has got a certain poetry at his finger tips and based on this sampler you should be getting more than a bit excited about his forthcoming debut album. The three tracks present are a perfect example of the diversity that you can expect when Iris is released. "Being With You" is comparable with the Velour project Bashmore & Hyetal are involved in, melding purple tinged R&B melodies with contemporary electronic rhythms. "Space Balloon" sounds like the track Kyle Hall and Space Dimension Controller wish they had made, laying down heavy bass flourishes and outer galactic pads over a delicious beat. "What You Do", Trago's collaboration with Tyree Cooper, perhaps offers yet another chance for the hip house revival that Cooper began all those years ago in Chicago. Cooper is one of several collaborations on Iris - Romanthony and Oliver Daysoul also feature - which further demonstrate Trago's intent to bridge the gap between the past and present.
12 Dec 11
Played by: Sean Gormally (Sean And Dev)
Review: Rush Hour further document Tom Trago's continual maturity as a producer par excellence with this EP which sees the Amsterdam resident extend and rework a quartet of tracks from his acclaimed second album Iris. These dubbed versions are a welcome bonus from Trago's recent switch to performing live, with each of the tracks here the end product of live experimentation. Trago's focus is on the album tracks that were shorter productions aimed at bridging the different moods, and reworked here they come to life as the inner qualities are unveiled and embellished for the dancefloor. "Life In Dubs" in particular is brought to life, arising from the guttural throb and chirping bird like melody into a dubby percussive monster that never settles into any one rhythm. Equally, the one minute excursion through beatless keys "We Like Naom" is fully reimagined as burning, UK garage flecked brilliance with "We Like Dubs".
21 May 12
Played by: Matt Quirk (Trendy Mullet), Owain Kimber (Owain K), Randy Brusseto, Kisk, Juno Recommends Deep House, Cottam, Santi Touch, Willo Schubarth, Soul Clap, Duke Dumont
Review: Rush Hour come through with perhaps their heaviest remix package to date in their illustrious history, enlisting Messrs KiNK, Linkwood and Larry Heard to grace tracks from Tom Trago's second LP Iris with their own distinct production touches. Almost a year after release, Iris remains filled with potent propositions for the DJ, though you'd be forgiven for eschewing the originals in favour of what's on offer here. Heard is up first, tackling the Tyree Cooper collaboration "What You Do", stripping away the ripeness in favour of the kind of warm, emotive dub groove he made his Mr Fingers name on. Not to be outdone, Linkwood is on some prime Carl Craig tip with a fully transformed rendition of "Being With You" that drips with hi-tech soul. On the flip, KiNK brings some dementia to proceedings, totally ripping apart "What You Do" and rebuilding it as a rugged, growling monster of a track which gleefully delays the arrival of a low set Tyree Cooper for an absolute age.
12 Nov 12
Review: "Rise Up" is in many ways typical of Tom Trago's genre-bending work. The fluid rhythms and pitched-down vocal sample (taken, we think, from The Supremes' "Stoned Love") are reminiscent of the garage influences currently being tweaked in bass music, but the construction and warm, darting chords are contemporary deep house through and through. "Sky High", meanwhile, is pure retro-futurist house simplicity; all clipped drum machine beats, woozy electrofunk synths and a liquid vocal from collaborator Cinnaman. The warm, delay-laden Vocal Dub of the same track is also excellent, adding a touch more beefiness to the vintage beats and alien synths.
03 May 10
07 Apr 09
11 Aug 09
16 Mar 10
Played by: Adam B (Homegrown Music/Palooza), Juno Recommends Deep House, Juno Recommends Electro House, Permanent Vacation, Chamboche, Ray Okpara, Skudge
Review: Dutch electronic institute Rush Hour unleash the second and final Voyage Direct remix EP. Keeping their local sentiment, all four featured remixers come straight out of the label's Amsterdam base.
Aardvarck, Boris Werner, San Proper and Sotu The Traveler deliver a diverse set of mixes that continue to retain the interest in Tom Trago's debut album. Following a string of acclaimed singles over three years, April 2009 saw the release of the hot Amsterdam producer's debut album. Turning heads instantly, the album was a hit and was followed up with a remix EP in August last year. Earlier this year, we saw the release of the Live Takes and now the final instalment drops to round off what has been a highly successful Voyage Direct campaign for Tom Trago. Opening the EP, Boris Werner provides a latin infected house version of "Lost in the Streets of NYC." With shades of disco, the rework has an airy quality to, induced by an intricately delicate piano pattern. A flowing groove keeps the rest of the track grounded as the other components drift off in a dream-like trance. Famed for his distorted dupstep-techno crossovers, Ardvarck hands in a tough electrodisco version of "On the Side." Roughed up kicks combine with Soundstream-style string edits. Highly energised and full of power, the track is roughened up in Ardvarck?s trademark Cult Copy style. San Proper's "Use Me" remix sees disco looping edits, acidic synthbass merging with a Detroit feel before Sotu the Traveller closes the release with his hybrid of dupstep and electrohouse on his interpretation of "Voyage Direct." As the long journey of his Voyage Direct draws to a close, Tom Trago will no doubt look back with starry eyes. Stretching the output from the album to the max but always maintaining the quality, he could have surely never imagined the ride would be this long and prosperous.
02 Feb 10
06 Jun 11
Played by: Nacho Marco
Review: Rush Hour break off one of the highlights from Tom Trago's multifaceted second album Iris in the form of the gliding Chicago house meets future R&B melt of "Steppin Out". Romanthony's iconic drawl dipped in soul is a perfect foil for Trago's winning mixture of Chicago bounce and a snapping drum flex. At three minutes long, it's got playlist potential written all over it but still finds room to work in several rhythmic movements. There's an instrumental version to fully appreciate Trago's work. Get used to seeing the names Romanthony and Rush Hour too, as the label is beavering away on a compilation with the legend.
22 Oct 12
Played by: X-Press 2