Artist: Benz & MD
Title: Highroller / Red Line
Label: Electronic Elements
By: Darren Rhys | 4 November 2006
  • A: Highroller
  • B: Red Line

Benz & MD "Highroller / Red Line"

Out Now on Electronic Elements

Originating from Ontario, Canada, Greg Benz and Marco Di Carlo are Benz & MD. Having been prevalent contributors to the progressive house and trance communities since 2003, each release is highly anticipated, with Electronic Elements hosting their latest EP. As a production outfit, Benz & MD have found their niche in driving, yet atmospheric and melodic pieces, and upon first listen it was encouraging to hear that they have remained true to the sound which they love, the sound which has established them as big players in this branch of dance music.

'Highroller' begins with typical Benz & MD grandeur. Powerful atmospherics create an impressive soundscape, before a popping kick drum cuts through and consolidates the bed of atmosphere with tight driving percussion. The saw, trancey bass is tough and adds terrific drive to the track, before the trademark melodies of the Canadians spring to life majestically. The track is graced with a beautiful optimism and emotivity with a series of stunning, twinkling melodies weaving themselves in and out of the piece. Some bass key movements add a further poignancy. A good opener, and an encouraging start to the EP.

'Redline' on the flip is a tougher affair, with some bouncy percussion leading the way. A groovy bassline arpeggio is thrust upon us, with a heavily effected, bit-crushed style rhythmic sequence tracking the arrangement. A lush, yet simple organ-like hook in minor key takes hold of the track during it's breakdown. Unfortunately, some of the promise of the first half of Redline isn't realised in the latter stages. Subtle changes to the bassline could have supplemented the melodic elements more promisingly, yet the bass loop itself doesn't deviate at all from the track's opening. I couldn't help but feel a sense of monotony as a result, and this was surprising from a team of producers who have championed the intertwining of strong hooks and basslines since their arrival on the scene.

As a release, Benz & MD's latest offering is a good one, with 'Highroller' the stronger of the two. With so many of the scene's established producers deviating massively from the sound which made their names in the scene, it's great to hear some more driving, melody-laden work from Greg and Marco. I do however feel that 'Redline' is lacking in creativity and distinctiveness.

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