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Jacob's Lead
Darling
Voyage Direct

VD24 | 2016-06-24
As part of the label's mission to champion Dutch talent, Voyage Direct has always promoted new, up and coming, and little-known producers. Boss Tom Trago's master plan includes building a family of artists, in part through helping unheralded local producers to fulfill their potential.

On the label's latest release, he continues that approach, serving up a debut 12' from a mysterious young producer known only as Darling. Those paying close attention to the wider Dutch house and techno scene may have spotted his recent rework of Awanto3's 'Star Butchers' on Dekmantel, in which the man or woman of mystery added some killer keys to the Amsterdam legend's woozy, deep house original.

While that rework was undoubtedly superb, Jacob's Lead offers a truer reflection of the shadowy producer's previously hidden talents. As debut EPs go, it's a bit of a cracker.

The title track, in particular, is a beauty. Its' restless, hypnotic rhythm tips a wink to classic Dutch techno of old, while the undulating, analogue electronics and swirling pads recall the far-sighted retro-futurism of vintage Motor City material. Throw in some of Darling's trademark spine-tingling keys and a deliciously loved-up breakdown, and you have a choice chunk of life-affirming techno.

On the flip, Darling heads towards deeper territory with the bubbling melodies, starburst electronics and saucer-eyed chords of 'Video'. Unashamedly positive in sound and intent, it sounds like the kind of track that will be cited as a classic in two decades time. Melodious and infectious, it casts Darling as the Netherlands' answer to Larry Heard.

The interstellar electronics are once more pushed to the fore on closer '80 Axes', where jaunty synth lines combine with soft bongo hits to create an instinctive rhythm, and intergalactic melodies sprint between the speakers. You can dance if you want to, but lying down is very much encouraged.
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