Artist: Stel
Title: Infinity / Heart Full Of Napalm
Label: Hope Recordings
By: Andrew Bilen | 18 November 2007
  • A: Infinity
  • B: Heart Full Of Napalm

Stel "Infinity / Heart Full Of Napalm"

Out Now on Hope Recordings

Stel's recent output under his own guise as well as that of Tannen and Group Therapy (with Dave Seaman) have all been tremendous as of late, with a number of those having been released by Hope. Here we find Stel in top form once again with another great release for Hope Recordings featuring a pair of tracks that are a slight departure from what we would normally expect of this talented producer.

On 'Infinity' we find Stel exploring a slightly more emotive side to his productions, making a conscious effort to create something with more depth and emotion and a great deal of attention paid to production quality as always. 'Infinity' is a deep, anthem style progressive house tune that slowly builds its way up to an immense peak-time breakdown. Spanning a bit over ten minutes, the track develops layer by layer, each one being carefully crafted and adding an extra bit of magic to the mix.

The track kicks off with wavering synth stabs accompanying the 4/4 beat as the leading synth line builds momentum and is brought into the forefront. The swirling percussion and effects are introduced as Stel continues to add a variety of beautiful instrumentation. Every component of the track works in perfect harmony here to create one of the most moving pieces of dance music I've heard in sometime, bringing to mind an equally emotive track such as Partial Arts' 'Trauermusik.'

At the four-minute mark we enter the breakdown that strips the track down to the kick drum and a simple but effective piano sample that creates a great contrast to the tracks dark mood. As the break develops, the previous elements of the track are quickly reintroduced before exploding into a powerful moment of pure bliss, as the beats come slamming back in for a truly stunning finish.

On the flip we have 'Heart Full Of Napalm' which brings us back to the edgier progressive house sound we are accustomed to from Stel, while still being distinctly different than past works in the same vein as Infinity. 'Napalm' goes for a more upbeat sound and utilizes a booming kick drum and energized bass-line alongside a collection of colorful synth lines and stabs that make it more innately dance oriented. Overall the track builds relatively slowly up until it explodes at the about four minute mark, with the low end really cranking things up for a more crunchy, bass-oriented sound. The breakdown is not as pronounced here as on the previous track, being a bit more subtle. However, it still lets listeners know they are in for a treat as the track builds back up for the finale. Although 'Napalm' doesn't have the same amount of momentum as 'Infinity,' it's a great track that showcases Stel's creativity and production skills.

Looking at this release as a whole, Hope has added a true gem to its catalogue. Stel layers 'Infinity' into a lush combination of sweeping pads and driving beats that takes us through a melodic breakdown and builds back up to a climactic finale. With 'Napalm' we get something a bit edgier and more dance-floor oriented. Overall, Stel presents two tracks that are unique from his past works and both surprisingly strong. It's refreshing to see a producer put so much effort into a release as is the case here.

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