Artist: Funk Harmony Park
Title: Crystal Sky
Label: Arctic Wave Records
By: Darren Rhys | 11 October 2006
  • A: Original Mix
  • B: Hernan Cattaneo & John Tonks Mix

Funk Harmony Park "Crystal Sky"

Out Now on Arctic Wave Records

Arctic Wave Records is an Icelandic-based project to come about this year. With an over-saturation of new labels spawning from the 'digital revolution', it is interesting to see this one supporting the vinyl format, and 'Crystal Sky' from Funk Harmony Park sticks out from the crowded market with a promising first release, along with a remix from one of the most respected DJ/producer outfits of the progressive genre, Hernan Cattaneo and John Tonks.

The original kicks off with a combination of subtle melodic progressions, complimenting a tough, housey kick drum and hard-panned tribal style conga percussion. The birth of a superb progressive bassline also sees the introduction of the lead melody line, which works nicely with the bass, before a dubbed out vocal part rises to the fore. Some guitar licks add a funky tinge to the piece, and a welcome one at that. Strings, pads and some heavily reverbed percussive arrangements work alongside the bassline keys to create a warm bed of atmosphere for the breakdown, while the child-like vocal utterings of 'Crystal Sky' add further emotive depth. The groove once again takes hold of the track while the emotive elements are all but lost, to drive the track to it's latter stages. We return once more to the powerful melody and bassline drops before the ultimate close of the track, which as a whole manages to find a great balance between musicality and dancefloor-led groove.

The remix from Hernan Cattaneo & John Tonks is one which, in some respects, certifies both this release and Arctic Wave Records as a venture. While this isn't a favourable prospect for new labels, a remix from such a widely respected duo will succeed in grabbing the attention of enthusiasts with hundreds of tracks to plough through on a weekly basis. The reworking utilizes the spaced-out vocals of the original, and an essentially un-altered lead melodic line, while creating a smattering of fresh parts to create an altogether lighter, bassline-led interpretation. What becomes apparent in this mix is that the lead synth from the original which relied heavily on the key-changing bassline to give the piece a sense of emotion, is used more sparingly, making way for an electronic slap-bass. While this may find favour in a club environment, for me what made the original an impressive start to the release was its distinct musicality, which is lacking here. There are however a series of fresh melodic ideas on the remix, which could have been given further significance with a changing of the bassline keys at some point.

A positive start for Arctic Wave, with an original which is packed to the gills with powerful musicality, funk and groove. The remix, courtesy of Cattaneo & Tonks, will also have its supporters, but for me fell short of the original due to the removal of depth and emotivity.

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