The first release from Hernan Cattaneo's new digital label Sudbeat is a two tracker from one of the biggest names in the UK dance music scene-veteran DJ Danny Howells. Unfortunately, Howells takes a little bit of a backward step here considering how on -point he's been in the past year with his own Dig Deeper imprint to fit Cattaneo's more anthemic style.
The experiment almost works with Howells' gut instincts nearly prevailing over the tinkling arpeggios and agonizingly long breakdowns but they just aren't enough to save this debut pressing. The a-side On The Moon takes a long time to get revved up with a plodding, progressive house beat that just lies there for a while acting-well-progressive. Luckily about midway through, the track begins to show some life by building melodically in that way only Howells can do-part menace and part hedonistic bombast. However, what goodwill there was to be gained in this move is quickly erased by the awful trance build-up complete with a vintage drum roll at the end seemingly culled from 1998.
It's as if the ghost of Oakenfold Past stormed the studio and absolved Howells of all responsibility for whatever came next and none of it was good. The less said about the back half of this track the better. About the only saving grace the b-side of this EP gets is that upon first glance there may be some mistaken thoughts that Moonage Dream is some sort of Bowie re-working considering Howell's recent “digging in the crates mix” for Resident Advisor. Sadly, that is not the case here as the flip is mostly just a bunch of fluffy trance by the numbers like a throwaway b-side from the old vinyl days. “Tired” is probably the best word to describe this track.
This contrast between the new digital way and old vinyl method for selling dance music are essentially what kills this release despite all of Danny Howells' toil to save it. In an age when consumers are agonized with too much quality digital material to choose from who in their right mind is going to spend time with a track that wasn't even good enough to make it on to the backside of a shiny wax disk back in the day? It seems just a bit anachronistic for Cattaneo to run his digital label in such an old school fashion and also, perhaps, that renders this whole release obsolete.
1. On The Moon
by Sean-Michael Yoder