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Richie Blacker – Summer of Rave EP (Of Unsound Mind)

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It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch Richie Blacker rising through the ranks as a highly individual sounding producer. The Irish DJ & producer has been teetering on the threshold of a major breakthrough for some time with his stellar release ‘Mess Express‘ on Sasha’s Last Night On Earth a highlight for me but there have been a number of other releases of note on Global Underground, Einmusika and Skream’s Of Unsound Mind label to name a few.

What I love about Richie’s production style is, he is one of the rare few producers that manage to capture the energy of the golden age of electronic music in his new music, treading that fine line between modern production techniques and keeping each and every track, not just interesting, but dripping with the dancefloor-rocking sentiment that drove the scene back in the day, that has all but disappeared from modern electronic music.

“90s rave culture and the DIY spirit of the acid house scene has always had a massive influence on me and my music from a young age. I always looked up to my brothers when I was younger. They used to go raving every weekend and I used to sit with them in their bedroom and listen to all their rave tapes before they went out to raves. So rave music and the culture is in my blood and it always will be. It’s only natural that those sort of sounds end up coming across in my music” says Richie.

It’s hard to believe that Richie wasn’t there alongside his brothers, because this EP is full of nostalgia, but sounds authentic to boot. Opening track Summer of Rave 89 does not mess about. It doesn’t gently intro, it doesn’t sneak up on you, it’s not all about the groove, it’s all about the rave. Opening with a classic break, and jumping onto a four-to-the-floor 909 the track quickly progresses via a clever piano riff, background vocal snippets (can you guess the sample?) gated strings and a full on bass. Holy cow, not even at two minutes and already there’s more in the build-up than most producers would dare to squeeze into a whole track. But things are just warming up, there are arpeggios, and an explosion of M1 style pianos. When you think it’s all over there’s a lead synth riff that ties it all together. You like it minimal? Turn away now, this is pure unadulterated anthemic fun, arm-waving sweat inducing good times. Need to know any more? Thought not.

‘Rave Memories’ ever so slightly mellows, taking you through an amazing range of nostalgic sounds, wonderful arpeggios, gated vocals and lush pads. However Richie fits so much in so quickly is anyone’s guess, but the skill of the producer not so much shines through but sends a solar flare out to hit you right in the eye. There’s big bass and classic breaks but this is all about the melody; arpeggios playing off each other and that bass driving things through.

‘Sesh Gremlins’ closes the EP with a breaks-led take on rave culture, by know ‘you know the score’ right? Classic break, big bass, lush pads and an angelic lead arp. It’s like I’m dancing in a field, looking to the stars and knowing these are the best days of my life.

Beautifully produced, beautifully curated and ordered. My preference is in reverse order but that’s because the I think the tracks that breathe have space and that makes it for me.

Big support from Pete Tong and Danny Howard, and that’s the beauty of this EP, it is accessible but it will still go down on an underground floor. If there were any festivals this year this would be the soundtrack of your summer.

It doesn’t matter if you were there in 89. Get onto it and bath in the talented Richie Blacker’s rave memories.

Score: 9/10

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