For as much as we love the restrained, organic, and intimate sides of dance music, sometimes we just need something up-front and loud as hell to set off our irresponsible late night festivities. Founded earlier this year by DJ Slow and Richelle, Belgian label Pelican Fly has already become one of our go-to sources for hype tracks designed for dancefloor annihilation. The label’s first two releases showcased some of the most forward-thinking sounds and artists in dance music, combining grime and dubstep influences with mega-doses of crunk, hyphy, and ghettotech (check out our review of Richelle’s Mascotte EP here). And today, mere months after its inauguration, Pelican Fly is set to unleash its third release from Melbourne-based Lucid, who also has EPs on Top Billin, Nightshifters, and Scattermusic under his belt. While Melbourne boasts a burgeoning music scene, its geographic isolation from the classic hubs of dance music – London, Detroit, Chicago, Berlin, etc. – allows for the kind of boldly non-reverential genre experimentation that Lucid displays on his Thy EP. Comprising four original productions and two remixes, this is a chaotic, in-your-face release that will leave your knees shaking and your head spinning.
Opening track “Kalso” sets the tone for the EP right off the bat with deep, tense vibes that truly evade comparison outside of the Pelican Fly roster. Lucid builds massive tension with uneasy orchestral stabs and haunted sirens, only to give way to a bare half-step with the heaviest kick this side of Starkey. The richness and diversity of sounds employed throughout the track is mind-boggling – think far flung sci-fi gadgetry crossed with cavernous 808 percussion and all sorts of wonky, drifting synths. For how hyperactive the track is, Lucid does a marvelous job of tying everything together and making it function as a cohesive unit. “Walkingly Jaded” sounds much more confrontational, built around a pitched-down vocal sample and aggressive, rapid fire percussive clacks. The orchestral strings from “Kalso” make another appearance, this time around playing the counterpoint to a slippery, hollow synth lead that brings Jam City’s “Magic Drops” to mind.
Thy‘s first 4×4 beat comes out to play during the intro to “Lovely in Love,” paired with woozy swells that give off hazy nostalgic vibes not experienced on “Kalso” or “Walkingly Jaded.” Throughout the track Lucid juxtaposes this warm atmosphere against the colder, crunk-infused production style that dominates the EP. His use of soulful R&B samples echoes the charming romantic sentiment suggested in the title, turning the track into an unexpected but wholly satisfying departure from the opening cuts. Lucid picks up the pace and wanders into footwork territory on “Based,” the last original production on the EP. With rugged percussive syncopations and masterfully processed vocals nestled cozily into a bed of cosmic synth pads and bleeps, this one is a must-hear for any fans of Planet Mu’s recent releases. On the remix tip, Richelle turns out a stunning, stripped down version of “Lovely In Love” that scraps the original’s warm pads in favor of menacing piano and brass stabs. The drop at the two-minute mark is minimalism at its finest, and we could see it doing some serious damage on a sweaty dance floor at 4 am. Meanwhile, Cosmic Revenge delivers an unpredictable reworking of “Based” that trades in the footwork rhythms of the original for old school electro and southern rap drum patterns. An uplifting vocal sample rides on top of soaring, unrestrained chords that come dangerously close to trance but ultimately take this remix to the next level. All in all this is a well-rounded collection of high-energy tracks from one of today’s most exciting upstart labels, so be sure to cop it from your favorite retailer.
STREAM: Lucid - Lovely In Love (Richelle Remix)
Lucid – Thy EP (Pelican Fly) out now.