Of the producers who emerged during the heady days of the 90s, few have continued to release great music. In fact, apart from Luke Slater, Regis and Neil Landstrumm, the passage of time has led to them following rather than setting trends. There are too many examples of once distinctive artists going down the big room minimal route to document here. In other instances, age has led to a ‘mellowing out’ process that leads to not a deeper sound but in reality bland factory-line fodder. While Petar Dundov’s latest album is certainly more laid-back than the storming intensity of his Brother’s Yard releases, he hasn’t sacrificed creativity, ideas or imagination in the process.
On “Distant Shores”, Petar Dundov continues his transformation from hard-edged, austere techno producer to a purveyor of soft-focused, melodic dance music. Like much of his 2008 Escapements album, this new release sees the Croatian producer substitute force for warmth. From the outside, there isn’t much to “Distant Shores”; a pulsing, electronic bassline, borrowed from Italo disco but sped up to cater for the needs of modern dancefloors, provides the basis for a chord sequence that peaks, ebbs and climaxes over a near 13-minute cycle. It’s reminiscent of the early 90s trance of labels like Eye Q, but thanks to Dundov’s assured production, has been copper-fastened to a rhythm that is both ear-catching and DJ-friendly.
Some assessments of “Distant Shores” have posited the theory that in making this track, Dundov was inspired by the craggy Croatian coastline or the country’s barren landscape. Having visited and holidayed in Croatia every year for more than a decade, this writer feels that Dundov’s inspiration goes far, far deeper than such lazy claims. Ignoring both his physical surroundings and the musical environment - Croatia is both a haven for hard techno in the cities and party/disco house on the coast and the islands - Dundov has tapped deep into the country’s psyche to capture the collective warmth and melancholia of its inhabitants.