Label: Particles, Release date: 8 may 2013
From just outside the unique Moscow metropolis, Evgeny Suglobov, under is Asten production guise, has been a prolific artist for labels under the Proton family umbrella. With works signed to Silk Textures, Festival Lounge and Round Triangle, Asten's unique blend of melancholy, combined with "deep and airy elements" have led him away from the formulaic sounds so prevalent in mainstream EDM. Extending his reach further, the Aura label, co-owned with Apollo regular and fellow Russian, Escenda, has proved a formidable forum from which Evgeny has been able to display a collection of his own work alongside other, newly discovered, artists.
Asten's work for Particles has also been considerable, not least in his "Escape From The Deep" EP with remixes from Inkfish, Andrew Benson and Escenda. Furthermore, his collaboration with Benson also led to the "When Toys Come Alive" EP in the early part of 2013. Now, Asten turns his attention to a new EP entitled "Strong", employing the services of two guest vocalists to light up the melancholy sounds of his unique productions.
Laid out in immaculate symmetry, the first pair of tracks provides the title for the EP, utilising the vocal talents of the Argentinean artist Noelia, who now calls the Balearic Island of Mallorca home. Schooled in the art of the piano from an early age, Noelia soon became tired of the rigidity of musical notation, preferring to let her untrained vocal talent find form in musical theatre. A fascination of both jazz and electronic music led her to combine the two and, in turn, a collaboration with Asten. The vocal mix of "Strong" provides clear evidence of Asten's strong sense of rhythm and melodic counterpart as Noelia's vocals drift hauntingly across the track in tandem with an accompanying lead line that weaves in and out of the vocal meanderings. Asten's Dub Mix removes the vocal component in its entirety, exposing the stripped back mechanical beats and soothing melodies.
Partner track, "Her Loneliness" provides Moscow singer, Jane Maximova, with a platform to shine. A prolific artist in her own right with a background in classical piano and over 100 Beatport production credits to her name, Maximova's work has featured on such imprints as Green Mono, Lemongrassmusic and a debut album on Pitch Music in 2010. Furthermore, experimentations in electronic music since 2003 have ultimately led her to produce the magically haunting "Her Loneliness" with Asten. Once again, the clicking, popping, rhythmic beats form the perfect backdrop for Maximova's long vocal lines to take centre stage over richly layered textures of luscious pads and a lead line that is the perfect accompaniment to the vocal phrasing. The Dub Mix sees the loquacious vocal lines stripped away in a similar fashion to "Strong" but a small vocal phrase is retained to provide a subtle reminder, while Asten's production techniques provide a wonderful melodic refrain to the manipulated vocal.
Accompanied by the vocal talents of Noelia and Jane Maximova, the duo has certainly provided ample evidence that Asten is growing even 'stronger'.