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White Noise: Midland – Trace

Monday, 4 March 2013

Midland – Trace

Label: Aus

Up until now, the majority of Midland’s tracks have been patient, classy numbers that play on big room house tropes with the subtlety of some of the bass music set’s best. Despite killer collaborations with Ramadanman and Pariah, the UK producer never went for the banger on his solo material, preferring more restrained and delicate takes with his timeless house sound. This has been no bad thing, the producer’s Placement EP in particular was a deep and mature set of unique house tunes, so it comes as a bit of a surprise that Trace, his latest 12” for Aus, is the biggest, brashest track he’s put out to date.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Title track Trace kills in the club, and it’s certainly be doing the rounds of the UK’s dancefloors over the past few months. The minimal combination of an intriguing pitched-down vocal, punchy bass stabs and a big-room breakdown works a treat, but it necessarily sacrifices a little of the subtlety the producer has become known for. The refined sensibilities are somewhat recaptured on B-side For (Yacht) Club Use Only, a pummelling percussive workout with insistent hi-hats keeping time to a hollow melodic pulse and searing synthwork that rears its head in the track’s latter half. It’s a polished affair, and Trace in particular is sure to attract a lot of club play, but the skeletal sound and big sounds threaten to efface the moody, detailed sound engineering that gave Midland such a unique voice in the first place.


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