Various Artists - Kodama

Plusquam, 2006

Author: pr0fane
Date: Feb 23, 2006
Views: 2525

Review by: Jannick Andersen // pr0fane

Artist: Various
Title: Kodama // Compiled by DJ SO
Label: Plusquam
Format: CD (Jewelcase with standard 4-page inlay)
Released: February, 2006


What originally started out as a progressive sidelabel for one of the biggest labels in psytrance history, Spirit Zone, is now considered one of the most important labels on the progressive psytrance scene. I am of course talking about the German-based Plusquam Records, a label who over the years has released a long list of compilations and albums with artists like Haldolium, Timetech. Buzzmonx, Hopefiend (Mark Allen) and Auricular.

Their newest release is the compilation \"Kodama\", compiled by the Japanese DJ SO, who\'s been touring the world lately, playing at the biggest festivals in Australia, Japan and Germany, and also recently compiled a progressive house/tech-house compilation on Groove Zones sidelabel Aqua.

01. Decoy - Cat Magic [136 BPM]
First track is by the Australian duo Decoy, who also just released their debut album on Dance N Dust Records. \"Cat Magic\" is, in my opinion, their strongest stand-alone release so far: deep and thoughtful, with a totally relaxed and laidback groove. An utterly excellent tune for the late morning-hours or the afterparty.

02. Sensient - Dissolve [138 BPM]
Following up on Decoy is another Australian; Sensient, who is also behind the label Zenon, and he certainly kicks up the tempo a notch or two. I am not a huge fan of his creations; some of his stuff I like, and some I don\'t like, but this is definitely not among the worst: the sound is quite techy, with a plethora of twisted metallic effects to keep attention focused, and the energy is very high throughout. High quality dance floor stuff.

03. FREq - Sunglider [138 BPM]
Up next is FREq, another act currently living in Australia. After some mediocre releases, his productions are once again getting better and better, and while I prefer his slower productions around 130 BPM, \"Sunglider\" is one of my favourites of his faster productions. The sound is pretty much trademark-FREq, but it works so very well - overall this is a very uplifting and loveable track with very thematic sounds, that is bound to be played outdoors at the major festivals. Can\'t wait for his new album.

04. Bitmonx vs Fabio - Deep Sense [136 BPM]
Two of the German Plusquam-regulars, Bitmonx and Fabio, team up on \"Deep Sense\" - a quite typical Plusquam-track to be found somewhere between the deep and the joyfull, and a track which might as well could have been released a few years ago. Despite that, it doesn\'t sound much dated, and I can\'t ignore the fact that it is very catchy and likeable. Good tune.

05. Earsugar - Foretaste [135 BPM]
Earsugar is a relatively new collaboration between Martin Knecht from the Labyrinth-club, and one of the biggest surprises last year, Liquid Soul - both are from Switzerland. \"Foretaste\" is certainly not bad, with hints of the high quality pumping festival-sound Liquid Soul has been developing lately, and slight elements of house as well - but it failed to really leave a really big impression on me.

06. Fitalic - My Destiny [130 BPM]
\"My Destiny\" is made by the Dutch Robin Fitter, better known as Fitalic, with releases on labels like labels like Vapour, Bedrock, 19Box and Plastik Park. It contains the Fitalic-trademark bouncy, upbeat groove, embellished by big, phat stabs and lush pads, and is overall yet another very strong tune from him.

07. Ryan Halifax - Chocolate [130 BPM]
Ryan Halifax is up next - to be honest I haven\'t liked much of his releases over the years, but \"Chocolate\" really took me by surprise. The groove is deep and incredibly phat, and the super-uplifting choir-pads are definitely a nice touch. Ok, the \"Chocolate\"-samples (hence the name of the track) are maybe a bit too dominant, but overall this is one hell of a deep, housey monster. Great stuff.

08. André Absolut - Lost And Found [127 BPM]
Last but not least is \"Lost And Found\" by one of my absolute favourite artists at the moment, the Swiss André Absolut. The track can best be described as a slightly electro-influenced, very pleasant landing for the compilation - grooving along nicely with a quite lazy groove, sweet stabs and subtly uplifting pads. Not with as much hit-potential as so many of his later dominant tracks and remixes, but nevertheless a good track on its own.

Bottom line:

After a few slightly disappointing releases from the once so glorious label, Plusquam is really back on track with \"Kodama\". Compared to their later releases there is a much higher diversity, ranging from very housey grooves over more traditional german festival-progressive to slightly darker and techish beats - ensuring there\'s something for most progressive fans. The quality is overall pretty high - none of the tracks are downright bad, and there are a good bunch of tasty highlights.

Not an absolutely essential release, but certainly very good value for the money, and the best release from Plusquam for quite a while. Recommended.


1 (!!), 2, 3 (!!), 4, 6, 7, 8




Plusquam Records:

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