Astrophonica 14 by Fracture, Inaya Day, Alix Perez
Astrophonica 14 review
Following on from the success of the first Astrophonica compilation, the Mixmag album of the month-rated Gradients, label head Fracture delivers the action-packed Cold & Rain EP. This is Fracture’s first solo EP on Astrophonica and it’s been worth the wait with four tracks showcasing the Londoner’s creative energy and attention to detail. As ever, the release comes packaged with artwork from Utile Creative.
The EP is propelled by the title track, built around an irresistible vocal sample from featured artist Inaya Day. The original, 1997’s ‘Hold Your Head Up High’, featured Day in full house diva mode delivering a positive message. For his take Fracture hones in on a specific line, speeds it up, and chops it with trademark expertise until we’re left with something he admits feels a little more cold though no less powerful. Propelling Day’s voice forward are expertly diced breakbeats, rolling percussion, and synth stabs for a short but intense ride. Completing the A side is ‘Your Time’, a no-nonsense rollout with 2 step drums, filtered breaks, and catchy basslines playing call and answer with gnarly melodies. You can’t put it better than the sample does: this is one for the junglistical massive.
The B side opens with ‘On My Mind’ another fun, party tune at a slightly lower tempo for when those jumps between 160 and 170 are needed. The track is built around Fracture’s trademark rhythmic interplay with breaks, drum hits, vocal samples, and bassline woven together to drive dance forward. Closing matters is ‘So High’, a collaboration with Alix Perez with whom Fracture first joined forces (alongside others) for the Richie Brains project in 2016. Here the two producers blend the best of their respective approaches with half-time grooves, percussive flourishes, and contrasting melodies and vocal samples. Expect more from the pair in the future.
Cold & Rain shows Fracture at his best, pulling from over a decade of producing cutting edge dance music for labels like Metalheadz and Exit Records. After the success of 2016’s Hype Tracks EP and his work A&R-ing the next generation of Astrophonica artists — highlighted via the Gradients compilation — Fracture brings us four dancefloor tracks full of the ingenuity and enthusiasm that have made him and his label one of the most essential creative houses in the game today.