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Phaxe - Calm Under Pressure


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Artist: Phaxe

Title: Calm Under Pressure

Label: Iboga Records

Date: May, 2013


1. Presentation
2. Angels of destruction
3. Kondi
4. It's always sunny (vs Vice)
5. Disturbed
6. The Witness (Phaxe and Pras rmx) - KRUEGER AND COYLE
7. Jellyhead (vs Morton Granau)
8. Drums and Guns
9. Unforgotten



"Some confusion is perfectly normal at this stage captain."


Phaxe is Kevin Josefsen and after going the EP route and appearing on a bunch of compilations he's ready to release his debut full length album. Lately the progressive arena has been owned by those crazy talented Balkan folks so Kevin needs to bring his A game. Does he win a date with the head cheerleader or is he destined to watch his pants get rung up the flagpole?


Bit of a mixed bag really. Or so I thought.


While not captain of the chess club, he's certainly not the quarterback of the football team. However I think that has more to do with the Iboga playbook than anything else. Their style is more beat driven compared to the lush, melodic atmosphere if say an Iono or TesseracT Studio. Presentation is a vivid opener with good bounce, but then the next few tracks don't live up to the hype. Not a lot of variation and they seem a little light. That said there were still hypnotic snippets to be found in Angels of Destruction. It's always sunny, has a great break, but it also has that silencer sound which annoys me.


So at this point I'm thinking it's a decent release without making room for it on my CD shelf, but then the moody and beautiful Disturbed happens. Details so vivid I can taste it with a voice telling me to let myself go, drifting along, close my eyes...and let myself drift. Wonderful structure!


The Witness continues the vibe with a wailing synth and chopped strings before a chant is repeated. The whole thing has an eerie tribal feel kinda like you think you're witnessing something benign, but then by the time you realize it's turning on you it's too late. Jellyhead pushes you further down this dark hole, but don't worry...he gives you a funky synth riff to help you climb out. He puts it all together with light and dark moments as well as another entertaining break. Guns and Drums brings more surprises with a bouncy feel and appealing melodies that all fit well together without overloading the ear. Closing with Unforgotten it's a positive ending with light melodies and a soothing hand.


This is me being pleasantly surprised. After the first track I had my doubts, but then he kicked it into overdrive. Progressively speaking that is. Very rhythmic and detailed with a danceable swagger. It comes full circle as the beginning is positive and uplifting before he steers you towards the dark side of town only to bring you back into the light with the last track. A solid release that brings a smile to my face and it should do the same for melodic progressive trance lovers as well.









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