CD Reviews: Matt Darey, Cold Blank, Demure

Trance / House / Rocktronica

Matt Darey Blossom & Decay (Armada)

Although Brit DJ/producer Matt Darey has been a force in the industry for more than 15 years, Blossom & Decay is his first full-length artist album. And it was worth the wait. With sweeping melodies and grooving guitars, Darey’s penchant for composition and songwriting—plus a knack for combining organic sounds with electronic—shines through. Set staples/fan favorites such as “See the Sun” and “Black Flowers” are among the 17 tracks. Other beautiful offerings include “Lost at Sea,” plus a bit of perfectly balanced heavier grittiness on the title track, “Too Far” and “Red is Rising.” On a local note, Darey wrote “Altitude” while vacationing on Mount Charleston, and the album’s cover comes courtesy of Las Vegas photographer Mikey McNulty. Here’s hoping it’s not another 15 years before Darey’s sophomore LP. ★★★★☆


Cold Blank The Agenda (Burn the Fire Records)

The No. 1 complaint from non-electronic-dance-music fans is that all EDM sounds like a bunch of bleeps and blips. With so many new EDM producers thrown into the mix, even the trained ear is beginning to have a difficult time finding truly standout tracks. That isn’t to say the debut album from L.A.-based duo Cold Blank falls short—it’s a solid offering and quite dance-able, really—but it’s not particularly original. Sure, there’s a healthy mix of fantastically produced banging electro, vocals, synth lines and a bit of dubstep, but practically all 10 tracks are reminiscent of existing offerings from Wolfgang Gartner, Lazy Rich or Skrillex. A good album for newbie EDM fans; more of the same for veterans. ★★☆☆☆


Demure Kill the Silence (Mutants)

We don’t expect you to recognize the name Demure. That’s because it’s a new moniker for techno/deep house DJ/producer John Dahlbäck’s side project. Taking a break from floor-fillers, the chill-out relaxation tracks are a welcome and alluring departure from big-room EDM. Dahlbäck originally created the 13 tracks for his own enjoyment when traveling the world, but thankfully he’s now sharing them with the public for free download via his Facebook page. Dahlbäck’s sister, Erika Gellermark, joins in on the Demure project with vocal and songwriting duties on multiple tracks. Dahlbäck’s cinematic piano skills show on the title track; other highlights include the sweeping “Happy Alone,” the seductive “Ley” and an overall super-sexy album. ★★★☆☆

Disc Scan

Upcoming albums on Deanna’s radar…

OCT. 8: Raf Daddy and Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard team up as 2 Bears for a Carribean-inspired mix compilation for the two CD-set 2 Bears, 1 Love.OCT. 9: As a Rolling Stone Artist to Watch for 2012, Russian-born, German-bred DJ/producer Zedd releases his first LP, Clarity. NOV. 6: You may not know the fictitious cartoon Jamaican renegade Major Lazer (it’s essentially a side project of Grammy-nominated DJ/producer Diplo), but the new LP, Free the Universe, includes collaborations with Bruno Mars, Tyga, Flux Pavilion, Wynter Gordon, Shaggy and Wyclef, so expect some heavy dance-floor play upon release.

Originally published in Vegas Seven.

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