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ARTBAT – Upperground EP (Diynamic)

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Ukranian duo Artur and Batish, AKA ARTBAT are really on a roll. It’s been a little under a year since their last release on Diynamic that garnered them a lot of attention with their excellent ‘Planeta EP’ (check Planeta and Prometheus) and Papillon on the excellent fryhide label.

What you should expect to hear is big chunky techno with that progressive house sprinkling, dark and full but with melody. Think Solomun of course, think Adriatique, perhaps and you won’t go too far wrong.

ARTBAT have a sound, it’s not, perhaps, unique but it is individual and that’s good enough. The jury is out on whether you could pick an ARTBAT out of a line up of usual suspects but the Upperground EP showcases their consistency and their quality production techniques. If anything their style has got somewhat slicker, the arrangements are unhurried and the sounds are uncrowded and beautifully positioned.

‘Upperground’ is a bouncy, melodic techno cut that would happily sit in a progressive set, the groove is wonderful, throbbing and dark but with a fistful of melody to set it off. This is a real theme of ARTBAT, the hard analog sound set off by lushness of melody or big floaty pads. No better example of this fire-and-ice style is the second track ‘Atlas’. Atlas is more straight up club-fodder, a showcase of steely determination to get the floor moving but with the cheeky grin of a teenage misfit. The signature rolling melody is there, the big rumbling bass and those ethereal pads. It’s simple but it works.

Finally ARTBAT team up with Dino Lenny again to deliver a really interesting melodic, kinda’ vocal track that is almost something special. ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ has some wonderful elements, strings and analog style pads, signature bass sounds but somehow just doesn’t hang together quite right to make a similar statement as ‘Atlas’ and ‘Upperground’. Don’t let this take away from what is another release of exceptional quality from ARTBAT. ‘Atlas’ is a favourite for me but I suspect that ‘Upperground‘ will do the business on the usual platforms. Diynamic, as usual, pick a winner.

Score: 8/10

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