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GLOWAL – Night Queen EP (Watergate)

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Watergate has been a mighty impressive label this year. Almost without exception every release is worth a listen, but there has been an exceptionally high level of quality and really interesting productions edging out of that stable. When you consider that Watergate only releases music from a roster of artists that have been invited to play at the club you have to wonder if that’s a brilliant A&R tactic, or perhaps they just have a good ear.

Fabio Giannelli and Alessandro Gasperini aka GLOWAL have been hitting the spot with a series of releases on some high profile labels such as Afterlife, Sapiens and Diynamic. They all have a signature sound, chunky and slightly dirty house music, the kind of stuff that moves the floor just after the peak and before the 4am moment, it’s sweaty, full dancefloor business, head down and strobe up.

For me, though, this EP was a mixed bag. The production values throughout are very high, the bass in-particular is strong and the drum and percussion work is excellent. The overall production values are excellent. It isn’t to say that there aren’t great tracks here. It may actually represent Glowal‘s ability to have a wide & varied sound.

The opening track ‘Night Queen’ seems an odd choice as an opening track, the GLOWAL elements are there, great melody, strong bass, the percussion and production jumps out the speakers at you, but I’m not a fan of the 80’s influenced lead.

Moment’ takes it a little harder with a rolling synth bass and an almost techno feel, but Simon Batten‘s vocal is wonderful and lifts the production to a real stand-out moment. There are brilliant drum fills, simple melodic synths and ambients in the break. It’s simple stuff but really solid. Most of all it’s a great song that just also happens to be a stomping club track. The off kilter synths after the break are fantastically weird, like a creepy halloween soundtrack.

‘Enigma‘ is a little more spaced out which allows the arrangement to breath. It’s all the better for it, those GLOWAL riffs are brilliant, simple and ravey, uplifting in a backroom way. There is a kind of vocoded vocal, that works well but it’s all about the bleepey groove. This is unique and solid.

The jewel in the crown of the Night Queen EP is ‘Antenna’. In a way I see why it’s tucked away as the last track, it’s deeper, it’s strobe-light, it’s a little odd, but I tell you what – it’s a moment. There are choral pads, little melodic ear-worms, brilliant bleepey arpeggios and ravey riffs and a sprinkling of piano. But (again) it’s all about the groove, solid and bass-led on the one hand and lush and soothing on the other. The contrast of the fire & ice draws you in.

Not every track hits the mark for me, but overall a strong and interesting release. I think there is a lot more to come from GLOWAL, they have a unique style that is like a new Italo-techno, interesting and accessible but also not commercial. Keep your eyes open GLOWAL are upon us, I feel their output is not just going to be consistent but relentless.

Score: 9/10

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