Published on Pumped Audio 02/08/2013:
Mihalis Safras’ ‘Out Of The Box’ is an album containing tracks that have been strategically arranged for flow. Aside from two tracks that overuse vocal elements, the remainder of the album is stunning. Those of you who love dark bass lines on a minor key will love ‘Summertime’, ‘Pianista’, and ‘Beach’. ‘Big Room’ and ‘Mastil’ are hard as silver bullets, and ‘Nine-O-Six’ or ‘Big Room’ make it shine with two different hi-hat effects.
‘Hotness’ takes it time to reveal its layers when a less detailed account could achieve a better result. It has springy melodies and bass lines, but they’re frequently disrupted and overpowered by vocals. Repetitive words and stutters whirl around, spiralling off into the distance as they fade. It sounds like the only variation that gets played throughout, so things turn dull or noisy pretty quickly. Moreover, the track’s unnecessary echoes fail to sustain interest.
‘The Break’ has a whipping sandpaper noise in the intro that can make the crowd sway from side to side. Bleeping melodies bubble their way in, before the deep bass dips in. The piano notes and vocal stutters in the build-up act make a cool, whisky stir. Take this tune as a serving of smooth cream.
‘Summertime’ comes in a Dub mix and a Club mix. In the build-up, the dub mix sounds slightly scattered or confusing, especially when it comes to the arrangement of vocal effects. For instance, the echoing chants were layered with far too many other echoing vocal elements. Also, the “eh, eh, eh” stutters could have either stopped after the build-up, or actually be more melodious. Alas, these vocals took up too much space. In fact, it might sound as if they were forcefully crammed into the mix.
‘Pianista’ is my favourite cool cat. Without a good pair of headphones, the bass line can be a bit hard to hear. However, a new pair would be worth the effort, because it is guaranteed to be the catchiest tune of them all. Those piano notes make everything more groovy and fancy. This is a perfect example of how it doesn’t take a lot of complex layers to make a good release, as long as the elements mingle with one another and have a good time.
‘Beach’ (Original Club Mix) has rather playful hummers and lyrics as vocal stutters, which really helps to add variety to the track. The highest note of the bass line is given more emphasis than its lower notes, creating exciting points of contrast. Spinning rattles in the build-up and ethereal boings cause the mood to transition from playful sounds to an intergalactic floating experience. It’s as if Mihalis Safras saw the build-up as an opportunity, and seized it well.
Mihalis Safras manages to bring out some lethal weapons in the middle of the album. ‘Nine-O-Six’ has hi-hats that sound intentionally pixelated, whirring about to create a glittery spinning effect. The melody plays in gradual crescendos throughout, so when it suddenly sharpens in the build-up with watery falls, it adds a perfect pinch of spicy flicker. The hi-hats in ‘Big Room’ have rapid cut-offs. When accompanied with rattles, buzzy wobbles, and other choppy effects, it creates a really sharp sound. ‘Mastil’ has a hard-hitting bass and synth shimmer, whereas ‘Messing’ has pounding drums and an intense melody that will put its listeners into a dangerous hypnotised state. Be warned, people who refuse to move to these tracks might get pricked by thorns.
‘Goudi’ has more stark differences between the middle tones and higher notes. The fuzz and shaky beeps somehow creates a landscape of discarded metal. On the other hand, ‘Raf’ has gentle echoes and sandy flows. Both ‘Goudi’ and ‘Raf’ manage to create similar atmospheres with subtle tones and minor differences, so they give the album a delicate finale
Mihalis Safras will throw a lot of gifts ‘Out Of The Box’. Some of them might throw people off, but as a whole, it’s still a good catch.
Now available on Beatport.