Review: The latest missive from Young Marco's Safe Trip stable is a double feature boasting headline-grabbing workouts from label regulars Darling and Ben Penn. It's the former who kicks things off with "Sierra", a rolling, funk-fuelled slab of starry techno rich in bubbly Motor City electronics, attractive lead lines, swirling chords and undulating synth-bass tones. Like much of the music Young Marco champions, it's positive, colourful and capable of stirring the emotions. Ben Penn's "Trouble" is relatively relaxed in comparison, with the rising star pairing chiming lead lines and deep space electronics with a sturdy but elastic house groove and wild synth solos.
Review: Trance ala mode in one of its nicest dresses we seen yet. Presented here in twinkling apreggious and sequenced strings, Prins Thomas remix to "The M Song" illustriously lights up a profoundly subtle yet euphoric treat from Darling's Tuplia Moves LP. Released on Young Marco's Safe Trip, Prins Thomas' M Song remix coates the original in a huge swathe of haze and dubby atmosphere, accentuating its high notes enmass with tubular bells, starry delays and big hugs from the kick drum. Somewhere between kitsch and kosmische, quality control lends itself to success in "Kiss The Glass", with PT dropping the original's percussion and broken beat influence for a sense of star sailing pop cosmic.
Review: A reissue here of the 1992 debut album from Trans-4M, Belgium's answer to The Orb. Opener 'Arrival' starts out in full ambient territory before a gentle, throbbing electronic rhythm slowly emerges out of the densely layered synth washes, atmospherics and sampled space dialogue. 'Dencity' is a dubbed-out 6am gem, 'Depth Probe' and 'Surfacing' have a blissed-out, 'white light' kinda feel and 'Atharvaveda', 'Amma' and 'Mount Void' play with off-kilter percussion and Indian folk elements (and in the case of 'Amma', a hint of dub), before ambient piano piece 'Singularity' plays us out. Undoubtedly of its time, 'Sublunar Oracles has nevertheless aged surprisingly well!
Review: Young Marco's Safe Trip label can always be relied on to release left of centre electronic music - and Hakkenden is no exception. The work of Hoshina Anniversary, it starts with "Hakkenden I", where the Tokyo-based DJ/producer delivers a loose house groove that resounds to easy listening piano lines and irresistible acid squelches. It makes for an unusual but endearing dance floor track. By contrast, "Hakkenden II" is much more upfront; the pace is faster and the beats are tougher, but that distinctive eccentricity lingers in the arrangement, with psychedelic keys swirling their way seductively through the steely drums.
Review: Suave and sophisticated safari suit enthusiast Ben Penn is Safe Trip's agent in Holland's deep south. He made his debut on Young Marco's imprint last year, and here delivers an even better follow-up. Opener "Nix" is a gently psychedelic, delay-laden trip into outer space with just a clutch of synthesizers (and no drum machines) for company, while "Not Important" sees Penn wrap alien synthesizer lines and tropical vocal samples around polyrhythmic electro drums and rubbery synth bass. Elsewhere, "Ben" is a trippy chunk of semi-horizontal alien funk smothered in quirky synth samples and madcap electronics, while "People" is warm, woozy and as loved-up as they come.
Review: If you've heard any of Young Marco's sets over the last six months you'll have heard these two scintillating South African house edits. His version of Madlaks' "Jikovonunu" - a jaunty, breakbeat-driven, piano-rich hands-in-the-air workout featuring squeezable synth bass and the repeated vocal phrase "we dance forever" - is already approaching anthem status and has a track record of inciting dancefloors whenever it has been played. That said, the Dutch producer's "fix" of Hot Slot Machine's later "Rhythm", a more obviously turn-of-the-90s New York house influenced chunk of peak-time cheeriness featuring ear-catching synth-strings and a ballsy acid bassline, is equally as potent if played at the right time.
Review: Young Marco's label, Safe Trip, has become a home to some of the very best deep house and Balearic on the market. Perhaps they would prefer to be done as 'outsider' specialists, but we like to stick to names we know and trust best. To further prove the label's worth, they've signed Artis from the Sticks & Stones imprint, an artist who has been front-of-mind for us over the last year. As you'd imagine, this is all absurdly dreamy material, with "Panthera Pardus" providing a slow-moving, shape-shifting bit of house tribalism for the chill-out zones, with "Cetacea" acting as the inevitable follow-up thanks to another seismic reverie. "Gigantopicethus" is more percussive in nature, unleashing poly-rhythms all over the place, while "Delphinidae" glitches its ditant drums over mind-bending synths from outer space. Lush.
Review: Although winding down their Welcome To Paradise series of Italian dream house compilations, Young Marco and A Good Christian continue to release some sublime music on Safe Trip, with the return of Darling and his fourth release on the imprint. This time around though it's a full length effort in the form of Tulipa Moves, featuring a collection of sublime moments and the deepest strains of electronica. It has a celestial/new-age aesthetic all throughout, a trademark carried on from his previous efforts for the label - that sits somewhere between The Abstract Eye's downbeat techno experiments or the aquatic bliss of Move D & Benjamin Brunn's Songs From The Beehive. You will note that the tracks utilise a variety of rhythmic patterns and percussive elements, exploring a range of unearthly but attractive sounds and are capable of stirring different emotions in human listeners.
Review: Young Marco and A Good Christian draw the curtain down on their brilliant Italian dream house retrospective series, Welcome To Paradise, with a third and final instalment that's every bit as good as its predecessors. After opening with the previously unreleased brilliance of Jacy's "Resounding Seashell" - the kind of cut that deserves to be played at languid, laidback afternoon pool parties - the Dutch duo variously serves-up sought-after gems (Leo Anibaldi's Larry Heard-esque "Universal"), humid and intoxicating early morning anthems (the tribal chants, kaleidoscopic chords and New Jersey organs of Green Baize's "Tramp Heart"), early ambient house anthems (Deep Blue's "Deep Blue (The Inner Part of Me)") and stone cold classics (Don Carlos's "Overture").
Review: The sixth release of Amsterdam record label Safe Trip brings together a few dozen ambient tracks from Japanese twin brothers Satoshi & Makoto from Kawasaki. The whole album's beats, melodies and musical phrases come from the Casio Cz-5000: which gives the record its name. Label chief Young Marco discovered their music via YouTube videos, which the two musicians had recorded in order to illustrate the possibilities of the aforementioned instrument and most of the material was said to be influenced by acts like The Orb and Yellow Magic Orchestra. According to the label, it is largely of an ambient nature, positive mood and possibly alien origin.
Review: While Darling's debut on Tom Trago's Voyage Direct imprint was a surging but colourful, full-throttle affair, this follow-up on Safe Trip is an altogether more considered and intricate affair. As you'd probably expect, the six tracks showcased are closer in sound and feel to the work of label boss Young Marco, with killer keys-man Darling employing all manner of kaleidoscopic electronic melodies and new wave-inspired '80s synth sounds. His various tuneful and near Balearic excursions are underpinned by jaunty, loose and punchy rhythms crafted on a vintage drum machine given to the producer by his grandfather some years back. These beats, dancefloor friendly but loose and loved-up, offer the perfect foil for Darling's loved-up, synthesized musicality. In other words, it's a wonderful collection of tracks.
Causa - "Alji" (Young Marco remix) - (6:06) 118 BPM
HNNY - "Mys" (Young Marco remix) - (7:11) 124 BPM
Zulu Pearls - "Not Like The Others" (Young Marco remix) - (5:03) 70 BPM
Tony G - "Simple Dreams" (Young Marco dub remix) - (4:37) 122 BPM
Review: From behind the counter of Amsterdam's Rush Hour record store, Young Marco has quietly amassed a worldwide reputation as seriously happening producer. Now he launches his own label, Sorry For The Late Reply, with a compilation that features all his best remixes. The mood is deep, percussive enchantment, with highlights including the spacey Latin shuffle of "Coffee Cola", the haunting fizz of "Snowball" and the new wave pop gem "Mys" by HNNY.