Beckwith // Craymal EP [Anjunadeep]
The top ten artists who have had most releases on Anjunadeep contains the likes of Jaytech, Michael Cassette, Andrew Bayer and Paul Keeley. If those names register with you at all then you will be familiar with the kind of progressive house that makes up 90% of the label’s output – uplifting productions with melodies and chord structures that evoke primary colours and pastel shades. To those who are fans of such things, these tracks come across as classy blends of melancholy and euphoria, but to detractors they sound overproduced and superficial. My strength of feeling doesn’t stretch as far either way – I do like the odd production a great deal, but much of it goes way too far over the barrier between sounding sweet and being too saccharine for me. Unlike the majority of their releases, this new EP from Beckwith is aimed at the deeper end of the market.
Craymal opens things and is built up from gentle rhythms, female vocal riffs and funky guitar licks, with a bassline that rises in stature and gets chunkier before taking centre stage and moving through the keys. Things progress from here with nice arpeggios being added and the vocals manipulated effectively, before we are treated to some nice pads in the spacious breakdown. Things then build again with the bassline ending up being more aggressive and distorted before the sun sets on the track – all perfectly pleasant and will be ideal warm up material/bar music for many.
Birds is next up, beginning with punchier beats, nice clean hats and well used drum fills – a low slung bassline with a bit of a growl to it soon develops, and becomes the main melody of the track, as wonky effects descend. Additional bass melodies with an acid squelch to them are added as a male vocal makes the odd appearance, sometimes spoken, sometimes sung. The track has its moments but it struggles to find the right note and doesn’t really work for me, overall.
Finally we have All I Need, which is notable for having the most thumping kick drum of the lot, as well as having the most old school/classic house feel to it -the bassline and synth chords treading the same path as a female vocal proclaims that “all I need is your love baby”. Things are back on track with this one, after the misstep of the previous track.
All of these tracks have a nice warmth to them, though the overall sound may well be too polished for genre purists – however, it does seem that it would be the perfect package for Anjunadeep fans who are seeking something a bit more muted and toned down. With that in mind, the label will consider this release a success.
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Stevie Reid