Wednesday, November 25, 2020

CamelPhat - “Dark Matter” Album Review

On 30th of October, CamelPhat introduced their debut album “Dark Matter”, consisting of 21 tracks and a total of 1 hour and 29 minutes of music. Besides completely fresh material there is an inclusion of a couple of previously released singles as well as special album edits of their well-known “Cola”, “Breathe” and “For A Feeling”.

For those unfamiliar with CamelPhat, they are an electronic music DJ/producer duo formed already in 2004 by Dave Whelan and Mike Di Scala originating from Liverpool, England. They signed to RCA Records in 2018.

A specific synthesizer is often a characteristic of their sound which gives a reason to mainly categorise CamelPhat’s production under progressive house genre. Before the duo, both They first gained major worldwide recognition with a single “Cola” featuring Elderbrook in 2017, peaking in third place on the UK Dance Chart and first place on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs the same year. Many say they have affected the rise of tech- and progressive house becoming slightly more mainstream. By November 2020, “Cola” has got 187,400,907 million streams on Spotify. 

Nearly every track in “Dark Matter” is a collaboration. Artists included are Leo Stannard, Jake Bugg, ARTBAT, RHODES, Yannis (Foals), Ali Love, Elderbrook, LOWES, Au/Ra, Skream, Max Milner, Cristoph, Jem Cooke, Noel Gallagher, Eli & Fur, DEL-30, Maverick Sabre and Will Easton. 

CamelPhat is probably aware of the fact that having vocals on a dance music track usually significantly increases the chances of being attractive and likeable for a larger amount of audience since 18 out of 21 meet that criteria. The overall picture of the album is painted with the duo’s signature sound and production techniques. As the name of the album suggests, the vibe is rather darker and cooler whilst still remaining enjoyable and enabling to take the listener on a journey of their choice.

On the other hand, “Blackbirds”, “Inbetween the Lines” and “Wildfire” can definitely be a little bit of a surprise for someone familiar with their previous production as these fall into a different style due to missing the house genre defining repetitive four-on-the-floor beat and tempo of 120-130 beats per minute. Depending on the observer’s preferences and expectations when listening through the full album at once, it can either give a soothing break for the ears or on the contrary - kill the vibe.

Combining the predictable and unpredictable material of the album, it most certainly has got a lot of potential to have several if not most of the tracks receive a lot of love and make it into the mainstream. For any melodic progressive house music lover, “Dark Matter” is a must to listen to.

- Merike Rundu

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