Review: Various Artists – Astir Presents Miami 2018

Bristol label, Astir, have released a compilation of tracks for their first Miami release, ‘Miami 2018’. The Waveform Transmitter’s Ste Knight takes a listen to an album packed with fantastic productions.

Bristol label, Astir, have released a compilation of tracks for their first Miami release, ‘Miami 2018’. The Waveform Transmitter‘s Ste Knight takes a listen to an album packed with fantastic productions.

As a dance head, the compilation album has always been an excellent way to get an insight into a label’s sound and ethos. The sixth release from the Astir stable is no different. ‘Astir Presents Miami 2018’ is a 14-track compilation, featuring a bonus full-length mix, put together by one of the artists who has contributed tracks to the album; Moonface.

Moonface himself would agree with the value of the compilation album, as he cites early Moving Shadow promo CD’s – the kind that could be picked up for a pittance at the HMV checkout – as one of the influential factors in his musical formative years. This would be true of myself, as I used to pick them up every time I went into the store with my W.H.Smith monthly wages to buy myself some new beats. I’m pretty sure that was my first introduction to E-Z Rollers, but I may be wrong.

Anyway, I’m digressing far more than I should, here. ‘Astir Presents Miami 2018’ follows five successful releases for the young label. Releases which have been making some rather neat little waves on the surface of this oceanic scene we inhabit. With so much new music saturating the market these days, it is difficult to make your voice heard and it is only through serious tenacity and an steel will to succeed that means Simon Huxtable‘s label is catching the attention of artists like Kompakt‘s Kolsch, Plus 8‘s Luigi Madonna, and Asymmetric RecordingsLonya.

The album covers a varied range of styles, which offers the first insight into Astir. Not concerned with pigeonholing artists, Astir is one of those labels that seems to just want the music they release to sound good. It doesn’t matter if it is downtempo ambient music or trance-inducing progressive house, as long as it passes the imprint’s rigorous A&R process, then they’ll give it the time of day.

Check out all of our exclusive mixes, here.

Tracks such as Audioglider‘s Out of the Blocks and The Wolf offer a dreamy, lo-fi tip that chill the listener out more effectively than a joint and a lavender tea, a feeling furthered by the beautifully lilting strings, melancholic rings of the glockenspiel, and sustained guitar plucks, present in Chris Johnson‘s The Little Things.

Kill Them With Noise offer a similar vibe, albeit somewhat more doom-laden in a kind of post-dubstep-py way, with the atmospheric Tundra. Drew Miller‘s track, ‘Jomon-Sugi’ is a rolling d&b workout, with some stunning pads complementing the rushing snares and hats perfectly.

The remaining tracks on the record follow a distinct house/techno path. Don’t forget, though, none of your boring old paint by numbers techno here. Nope. No way, sir. This is music for the discerning house and techno head. AVLISThe Reckoning is one of those tracks that is layered with emotion. I can see this one giving the likes of ‘Domino’ and ‘Rej’ a run for their money in the euphoria stakes. Benwaa weighs in with a lovely progressive house composition, layered with interesting vocal samples that further the narrative of ‘Figure you Out’. We’ve featured Benwaa‘s music on here before, as he is the big cheese over at Gibbon Records and a fine producer on top of this.

Crocy is next up with another emotive production, as Pathfinder contains some epic builds that will have many an arm raised in supplication. Simon Huxtable‘s Real Gone Kid guise offers two more progressive cuts; the minimal ‘Max’s Groove’ and the beautiful, Rhodes-drenched track ‘Mi Corizon’, which features a very sultry vocal snippet woven into the fabric of the production. Moonface stumps up two tracks – the glitched-out styling that is ‘Incorrect’ which features a Speak ‘n’ Spell sample throughout, and rave-influenced ‘Satellite’ which continues the sample theme alongside some early 90’s-sounding synth work.

Sean McLellan ft Blaine Syfert turn the energy up a touch with their contribution, peak-timer ‘Spyhunter’, before the record is closed out on Valentin Valko‘s synth-heavy house number, Coach Stop’, which certainly conveys a feeling of movement and speed in it’s layered sounds.

You can buy a copy of the album, with the exclusive Moonface full-length mix, from Beatport. Take a listen to the minimix, below.

Author: Ste Knight

Editor at The Waveform Transmitter. Lover of acid basslines, cavernous kick drums, and dark rooms. Cut his teeth to Surgeon's blistering techno assault at T-Funkshun in Liverpool and hasn't stopped for breath since.

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