Progressive didn’t give birth to the mix-comp, but through the fabled likes of ‘Northern Exposure’ and ‘Global Underground’, it did elevate it to a higher form. With its eponymous album series, it is to these lofty heights that Solarstone’s Pure Progressive aspires. In order to reach them however, radical approaches have been required! Mixcomps and albums are works of art and heart, which their creators can pour months, sometimes even years into. However, to pull both off simultaneously, and as a dual-release no less … well, that takes a special kind!
It is one with precedent though, as both Orkidea and Forerunners have previously delivered (in 2020 and 2022 respectively). Early last year, Solarstone laid the same challenge at the feet of another long-time musical likemind (and regular Pure Progressive contributor), Slam Duck. The rest you can guess … FFWD a dozen or so months and the label is sitting on the cusp of ‘Pure Progressive 3’, their third artistic album-360.
Split between The Artist and The Mix discs, ‘Pure Prog 3’ divides in order to conquer!! The former sees Alexander ‘Slam Duck’ Smirnov field an impressive ten new, previously unheard Slam Duck-ers. Meanwhile, drawn from the studios of Solarstone, Gundamea (aka Stoneface & Terminal), Clameres, Forerunners and others, the latter has Slam whipping 13 desk-hot cuts up into a formidable wall of progressive sound!
After ‘Space Trace I’s intergalactic overture, The Artist supplies the deep space funk of ‘Fragile’. With echoes of early Kleinenberg, ‘Afterglow’ keeps the vibe flowing, while ‘Frazzled’ balances out its rock-ish guitars with cursive synths. Quickening the pulse, ‘An Ode To Love’ brings in melodic trance elements, while ‘Allure’ pitches a mid-disc curveball, adding a quirkily offbeat breakbeat number to the album. Vocally, ‘Palmy Days’ is a call-back to the golden age of house, as guitar-jam and sunrise synths deliver its elevation. For those looking to add some thump to their prog, ‘PP3’s got you covered, as closing act numbers ‘Trust Me’ and ‘Middle Ages’ issue clear invitations to the dance!!
Of his approach to these twin-albums, Alexander says, “I started making music about 20 years ago, and from the beginning my main motivation was to make it as diverse as possible. At the same time however, that – along with my sets, had to be recognizably Slam Duck! Pure Progressive provides the ideal platform with which to do this, as it showcases how the artist evolves their sound from the studio to DJ set. I’m very happy to have the opportunity to convey my vision through Pure Progressive – a label and series that has no boundaries in electronic music!”
To cross from The Artist to The Mix, Alexander went studio-to-studio, in search of music that captured his musical ID. He didn’t have to look far … Clameres, who Slam first collabed with a decade ago, supplied ‘Extraterrestrial’, while fellow countrymen Gorkiz & Disto, Vasily Dvortsov and others were every bit as quick to feed their latest. Partenaire upped remix-sleeves on Forerunners & Mike Isai’s ‘Arrakis’, while Egypt’s Mir Omar weighed in with an equally devastating (not to mention deep and chunky!) take on Solarstone’s classic ‘4Ever’.