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LHASA / SOUND MERCENARY / GROOVE MERCENARY / STROOM

As the year comes to an end we get a DOUBLE DROP of reissues from Stroom, which cement its position as one of Test Pressing’s very favourite imprints. And if genre watchers are looking for a pointer in which the direction the hip young gunslingers are going in 2019…. well let’s say give Trance a chance. And not even with a particularly small ‘t’.

Let’s consider Stroom 020 first – which comes from Lhasa who were Kris Temmery and Alan Raes. Responsible for a handful of releases on the ludicrously prolific Music Man label outta Belgium from which these tracks are culled. I suppose these tracks capture the moment when new beat bled into trance / rave.

‘The Attic’ is clearly the selling point and it’s very much of its time. Sharp reverbed synths, digital choirs, that one finger bassline thing, rushing drums. It’s a powerful sounding record and in the right hands would do a lot of damage on the appropriate dancefloor. I have a bit of a job understanding how records like this translate to smaller rooms but that’s probably my own failing…

‘Sexxor’ hoons along in a slightly more ravey fashion until we get the emotional pads coming in around a minute thirty. This nicely floats up the buzz for me. Reach for the lasers and all that.

Stroom 021 deals in the same era and comes from Sound Mercenary and Groove Mercenary (Stephan Van Elsen solo and joined by Dimitri Van Elsen respectively). Here the mood however is more knockabout and fun – Dilemma has the galloping pianos and a sense of rising euphoria. ‘Switch’ is darker and more driving with (now) familiar vocal samples and more of a breakbeat pulse.

Two very evocative and immediate releases from Stroom, putting an end to a year of seriously diverse and intriguing musical offerings. Roll on 2109!

Dilemma/Switch and The Attic/Sexxor are both out soon on Stroom

 

 

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