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Moons of Yesterday

Namatjira

Manual Music
MAN296 | 2020-06-12  
Having developed a passion for electronic music from an early age, Joost van der Vleuten aka Namatjira has now firmly etched his place in the history of progressive house. With well over a decade of production credits, the Dutch artist has earned the praise of world class DJs such as Sasha and John Digweed, while showcasing his music on renowned record labels, most notably Nick Warren's Hope Recordings, Hernan Cattaneo's Sudbeat Music, Anjunadeep and Armada. Joost's unique take on melodic house has also seen him remix some of electronic music's biggest stars in Armin Van Buuren and Guy J. Now furthering what has already been a storied career, Namatjira presents his second studio album ‘Moons of Yesterday’ via Paul Hazendonk’s long standing Manual Music.

Spread across thirteen tracks and 80 magical minutes, Namatjira explores a broad spectrum of club sensibilities on ‘Moons of Yesterday’, beginning with the hypnotic leanings of ‘Kattenkwaad’. Astral overtones dominate the narrative here, creating a tense, mood setting prelude to one of the album’s showcase pieces ‘I’ll Kill You’. Initially released as the first teaser to the LP, Jennifer Horne’s haunting vocals are compelling in every sense of the word, evoking a wide spectrum of emotion, while Namatjira’s sturdy groove translates that message to the dance floor. Equally brilliant are the creamy arps and poignant tones of ‘Capricciosa’. Unveiled as the second teaser to the album in April, it’s airy quality and meditative arrangement draws the listener in, before effortlessly elevating towards a dreamy finale.

Furthering Namatjira’s precise craftsmanship are the deliberate beats and otherworldly textures of ‘Bradycardie’. Buzzing bass swells create sizable momentum while a sparse framework houses a superb blend of fragmented melodies and unique sonic artefacts. Tempo and energy continue to rise with ‘Aguamar’ and ‘Solenodon’. The former, a classically styled progressive groover complete with a robust foundation, fresh rhythmic themes and a maze of bubbly arps. While ‘Solenodon’ presents a more mystical sensibility through exotic drums and cross-cultural instrumentation. The journey’s halfway point is marked by an interlude of sorts with ‘Sounds of Sunday Morning’. As the album’s lone electronica creation, it sits as a tranquil centrepiece, with its introspective beginnings and impassioned second act creating an emotive storyboard.

Beginning the LP’s second wave are the tough, mid tempo beats of ‘Kununurra’. Subtle shades and fragmented tones coverage as the narrative evolves, creating a contemplative yet esoteric drawl, perfectly setting the stage for ‘Orotund’. Spacious and smooth, it’s a piece built around warm bass tones and vibrant cascades. Driving percussion pushes momentum forward, while soft overlays initiate a hopeful break of pixie-like melodies and fuzzed out modulation. Colourful and heartfelt, it segues into the album’s lone collaboration with fellow Dutch artist SVTN. Having worked together twice previously for Armada’s Electronic Elements, the duo craft something a touch more rugged in ‘Amber Fluid’. Powerful and inviting across it’s nine minute running time, rolling arps take centrestage, flowing through understated modulation, eventually commanding your full attention as a bulbous low end generates waves of momentum with each successive loop. The peak time sensibilities of ‘Yorba’ continue to elevate mood as the journey reaches a fiery apex. Sitting comfortably between the surreal and emotive, it’s finely tuned percussion and astral splashes bring rhythm and texture to a brilliant symphonic theme. Operating on a similar energetic plane are the pulsating grooves of ‘Apollyon’. With a nod to both contemporary and nostalgic blueprints, it’s ethereal design and fragmented vocals marry wonderfully, building to a compelling canopy of sound as a powerful drop sparks an exhilarating finale. Furthering his storytelling prowess, Joost rounds out ‘Moons of Yesterday’ with the haunting ‘Naya’. A unique amalgamation of cross-cultural wails, eerie tones and acid artefacts fuel this deep techno gem. Cosmic in design and spiritual in delivery, it’s a fitting end to a triumphant album from Namatjira, an artist who continues to operate at his creative peak.

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