It’s been said before, but Wind Horse Records’ evolution on the world stage never fails to captivate. The label has helped develop India’s many talented resources for export to the outside world while pioneering the deep house movement in its own country with releases, parties, and ground-breaking collaborations. Consider the stunning debut launch of Soulspace’s self-titled new album … without sounding out of place for the imprint, the release is certainly a departure from the world-influenced deep house and tech sensibilities it has defined itself by. The Soulspace work distances itself with more exploratory tempos and an experimental beat-maker approach, of which cities like Los Angeles or London are particularly well known for.
Yet Vishnu PS, the electronica producer behind Soulspace, is worlds apart – actually hailing from New Delhi, India, the same as his new label home. Exuded by the name itself, something deeply emotional is to be expected of Vishnu’s work. The interpretation of it could go one of two ways: either dark and devoid or heavily introspective, but in reality there is an uninhibited, playful thread throughout, even in its most touching moments. Capable of shifting aural ambiance between downtempo summertime grooves, jittery club music, and back to ethereal expeditions in a blink of an eye, Soulspace produces tracks that are steadfast in their melodic ambitions. The slickly engineered compositions are not only deeply appealing but offer moments of musical clarity.
Opening with an eye-rubbing ambient piece in “Morning At Roots”, the album gets off to an intriguing start. Using singing birds and the gurgling of a soft stream underneath a dreamy melody, it’s a peaceful exercise in meditative sound.
“Jayeta” follows suit with relaxing elements, only this time a strong kick and big bass punch through with an undeniable groove, creating the type of bright but moody dichotomy DJs dream of in a warm up cut.
Picking up the pace once again, “C’est La Vie” is the most straight forward arrangement on the release. It uses very familiar vocals, but in a totally unfamiliar way, focusing on only the embellished moments alongside xylophone hits and crescendoing flurries of metallic video game-like synths, but only the ‘advanced levels’ kind … at it’s peak it becomes quite a dizzying affair. Opening with the sounds of kids at play in the streets, the exact type of short, but sweet chopped-and-pitched vocals that would be found in UK bass music develop on “You”. The track also features stylistically consistent shuffling patterns, but the scattered bells, triangles, faded keys, and scratchy upper atmosphere are uniquely its own and particularly sublime.
“To The Top” incorporates a treasure chest of found sounds snapping into place like clockwork, each as if it was pulled from some sort of fantastical workshop. A child rambles at intermittent points and the footwork rhythms give it the edge it needs from falling into a hypnotizing lullaby.
This is in contrast to “The Stars So Bright” which is a glitchy number that evokes laying in bed looking up with ears ringing and no sleep insight, but in a beautifully satisfying way.
Soulspace’s own VIP Edit of “Morning At Roots” delivers more attitude than its previous incarnation, breaking the spell of an early intro with a stuttering kick and more declared refrains later on. Finally, putting the album to rest, “Night, Night” is a bedtime elixir with melodic chimes and crickets reverberating through the dark of the late hours.
The lone collaborator with Soulspace on this album, Frame/Frame, provides the perfect, slightly muffled voice of someone fighting those last minutes of consciousness.
Overall, this eponymous debut album from Soulspace can certainly be taken in whole as a listening experience, but more discerning DJs will be able to hone in on specific cuts and find purpose in them as serious distinguishers in their personal sets.
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Wind Horse Records