Artist: Misstress Barbara
Title: K-10 / Azzurri
Label: Bedrock Records
By: Antonella Sirec | 23 October 2006
  • A: K-10
  • B: Azzurri

Misstress Barbara "K-10 / Azzurri"

Out Now on Bedrock Records

It's not often that I find myself surprised at a label’s chosen release but that's exactly what happened when I saw a schedule that had Misstress Barbara's new 'K-10 / Azzurri' being released on Bedrock Records. At the very least, I was excited by the thought of having a well-known techno artist such as Misstress Barbara releasing something on such a celebrated label and at the most, my mind worked itself into a frenzy trying to figure out how this would all sound. 'K-10' and 'Azzurri' are both contemporary pieces of music that defy classifications within dance music yet will have you dancing in your seat before the last beat has dropped. In other words, we have not one but two winners!

The first track on this double A sided release, 'K-10', is a slow burner. Opening immediately to the sound of a dense beat and lively bass, the tune grabs you instantly as it begins to gradually add layers of sound with the introduction of a simple, chime like melody. This particular melody really drives the direction of 'K-10' as it builds and drops in volume throughout while intertwining itself with the primary bass. As the track continues to build, an intense synth is brought in that changes the overall tone. As the track continues to build in sound and feel, it now deviates into darker territory with the bass becoming more prominent. It's at this point that the track reaches its pinnacle and remains at that plateau for the majority its duration until just before the end where it peters off onto a gentler tip. From inception, 'K-10' is a seemingly techno number that has been composed in a progressive manner. While it may have initially sounded simple in structure, the varying layers and builds combined to give it a unique and intricate feel but without ever sounding confusing. Overall, there's a hypnotic element to this track that draws the listener back more then a number of times.

The second track to be found on this release comes in the form of 'Azzurri'. Beginning with the sounds of a padded bass, snippets of percussive sound effects are introduced before a slight lull in the tune. This then yields to an up-tempo beat and a melodic synth that builds gradually in volume. Much like 'K-10', layers of melody and chords are factored into the tune at varying points but structurally, this is a much simpler track then its predecessor. While the foundation of 'Azzurri' is bass laden, the varying melodic aspects combine to give this track a very light, uplifting feel in the overall sound. As the tune dips and peaks in slight instances, it never becomes complicated and maintains its melodic aspects until the end where it seemingly melts away in sound. While encompassing various genre components, 'Azzurri' is a track that is very hard to define as a whole other then it is a fantastic tune. Without question, that primary melodic synth is the key to its success, as without its driving force, the tune would not have the same impact on me as it has had. While I'm sure the majority of listeners will gravitate towards 'K-10', for me, it is 'Azzurri' that's the dark horse and thereby my favourite on this release.

To say that this is a pleasing release is being mild. I had no preconceived notions as to what 'K-10 / Azzurri' by Misstress Barbara would be like. If anything, my interest was instantly piqued at the notion of this artist releasing material on a label such as Bedrock but I knew for certain, it would not be a "progressive" tune in the old sense. The end result is two tracks that, for me, are standout releases for this year. While one has a murky overtone the other is its total opposite. Both are fantastic to listen to and have a replay appeal. As a release, both 'K-10' and 'Azzurri' capture a sense of "progressive" in a forward thinking approach yet to define either as "techno" or "house" would be genuinely incorrect. What they do is capture all three genres successfully but never yielding to any of those classifications. Given that Bedrock's history has up until recently been associated with the progressive genre, it's truly refreshing to see a renowned label releasing different but great music from an artist such as Misstress Barbara. More please!

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