EP Review: Kisses - dOP

Having just got back from on tour this new EP on Circus Company sees dOP bring back some new influences and a fresh sound.

'Your Feelin'' on side-A is a synth-pop / soul / house blend that conjures thoughts of sweaty nights of unfulfilled promise on the dance floor. It is the result of meeting of minds with Pillowtalk when in San Francisco - this being what the two groups ended up collaborating on once dOP were back in Berlin. Pillowtalk have already impressed with their mixture of house and R&B and this shines just as bright - it's a strangely sparse track for either group. The restraint creates an uneasy tension, giving the vocals a neediness that feels like a vice gripping the vocalist tighter so he can't escape.

'Kisses' is similarly withdrawn but more reflective. The gentle looping chords and deep drums form a very minimal texture to a track that sees the trio pause for thought and give thanks. It's both deep and contemplative, bittersweet in its execution, gradually building around a mood.

The Kisses EP also comes with an acapella version of 'Your Feelin'' and an instrumental of 'Kisses', but your focus should really be on the two original versions, which boast a greater subtlety than expected.

Kisses is released on Monday through Circus Company, available for pre-order from on MP3 [affiliate link].

EP Review: Teen Collection - Hot Jam 96 by Various Artists

This latest release from VisionQuest features not just one artist but three. The whole release plays with VisionQuest's trademark tech influenced house sound and is geared up for summer but aside from that this represents a pretty varied release.

The EP opens with Lauren Lane who enlists Jaw from dOP to create 'Lazer Eyes', a soulful cut with a disco edge. It has the crisp treble and deep base of a more minimal track but there is pretty obvious crossover potential in the sun flecked guitars and sultry falsetto vocals.

Next up is 'Alice' from QBeck featuring Julia Govor and it is a very different track. Govor's feminine vocals are fragile and yet even more sultry whilst the track itself is dark tech-house. It is a well balanced track though, with a bridge of slowly collapsing rhythms and just the right amount of loose jazz in the shakes and live bongos to offset the heavy, clinical bass line the runs through the majority of the song.

The final track comes from Clarion, one half of Footprintz - whose 'Utopia' was VisionQuest's second release in March last year. Here he closes this EP out with 'All Over All Kinds' and it is closer to the 'Alice' than 'Lazer Eyes' in it's minimal tech sound. Once again it's a vocal track with Clarion providing his own tones for a dark and deep epic synth journey. It borrows liberally from Art Department's sound but feels a little less hamstrung by its own ambition - this feels enjoyable in ways that, for me at least, their music never really has.

All in all a nice set, though the tracks are sufficiently different that it is unlikely all three will rest easy in any single DJ's box.

Teen Collection - Hot Jam 96 is out through VisionQuest now.