Artist: Guy J
Title: Esperanza
Label: Bedrock Records
By: Andrew Rowland | 23 September 2008
  1. Indigo Fields
  2. Nebula
  3. Geko
  4. Mikro
  5. 2 Steps
  6. Under Pressure
  7. Love Is Not Alone
  8. Save Me
  9. I See You Next Time
  10. Druma
  11. 7 Steps
  12. Esperanza

Guy J "Esperanza"Guy J "Esperanza"

Out Now on Bedrock Records

2008 has seen something of a resurgence in the much maligned dance artist long player. Standout albums from artists such as Quivver have set the bar high for anyone entering this ever more competitive market place. With the Bedrock brand celebrating its ten-year anniversary this October, one of their recent stars, Guy J, has delivered his debut artist album for the label.

Guy’s initial singles releases have been nothing short of breathtaking causing a considerable stir amongst both DJs and clubbers alike. The transition to a fully-fledged album artist has always been seen within the industry as something of a precarious step to take with many a talented artist deciding to steer well clear. So with ‘Esperanza’, the question for many will be if the initial promise shown by Guy has been translated into anything that resembles a credible long player. I’m pleased to say, having given ‘Esperanza’ several plays, the answer is a resounding yes!

Album opener ‘Indigo Fields’ is a low key affair and if anything an eerie beginning. It’s dark undertone and almost spooky sounding chord progressions are in stark contrast to Guy’s more melodic singles offerings to date. Second track ‘Nebula’ however, arrives putting us back on more familiar ground. It’s deep, funky and sufficiently techy, with a killer bass line and some classic house rhythms all twisted up in a warm up style. ‘Geko’ follows on nicely. With the groove firmly established, this takes things deeper still with its minimal percussive soundtrack and a beautifully crafted melody giving the track a laid back mellow summery feel. ‘Mirko’, with its dark sub bass and growling 303 riff provides the album with its closest thing to a truly inspired dance floor moment, the kind we’ve come to expect from Guy.

‘Mirko’ fades out into a very chilled interlude with ‘2 Steps’. Beautifully crafted melodic elements and modulated string riffs combine together to create a spine tingling effect. This all tees up nicely for two equally sweet sounding techno house tracks, ‘Under Pressure’ and ‘Save Me’. Both are equally groovy, hypnotic and thoroughly immersive, with the former providing a backdrop of exquisite chiming percussive melody and the latter, a warm slice of deep house, with soothing string melodies and a Latin American flavoured vibe with its conga driven percussion.

The remainder of the album from here is slightly more experimental but is equally as intriguing and compelling as what’s gone before it.

‘I See You Next Time’ is a strange hybrid of a soft melancholic chiming melody with a far eastern oriental favour, clever glitch percussive effects, strings and pulsing bass line. ‘Druma’ has a euphoric uplifting feel with an arpeggiated string melody set against the backdrop of a live sounding crusty break beat. ‘7 Steps’, like ‘2 Steps’ earlier, is another high charged emotional instrumental piece that leads into the albums finale the title track.

‘Esperanza’ is a break beat driven slice of warm summer deep house. This really is the album’s jewel in the crown and the kind that will have the hairs standing up on the back of your neck which very few tracks ever manage to achieve. It’s that good that in years to come, it could well be looked upon in same light as the Bedrock label’s other genre defining tracks such as ‘Heaven Scent’ and ‘Stoppage Time’.

Also equally worthy of mention is CD 2. This is basically a bonus CD that rounds up the single releases to date, along with a couple of extra tracks that didn’t make the album. ‘Aftertouch’ and ‘Avalanche’ are more groove driven dance floor style minimal house with bouncing bass lines and equally large string breaks. There’s also an additional version of ‘Esperanza’ that Sasha has been using to close out his DJ sets for the last six months and it’s worth owning the long player for this alone.

Overall, ‘Esperanza’ is a truly outstanding package and a must have for any serious electronic music aficionado!

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