Australia’s Dragan Roganović, aka Dirty South, just released his highly anticipated 10-track album, Speed of Life, via Phazing. Surprisingly, after countless high-profile remixes, singles and collaborations that span nearly a decade of hard work, this is Dirty South’s first official album. Speed of Life is a collection of electronic masterpieces that are not only suited for the party environment but also for at-home listeners. Many songs on the album incorporate gentle acoustic instruments like piano and guitar with vibrant synth sounds to create beautiful harmonies and rich atmospheres. The variation of songs is also impressive; combining different rhythms and moods from track to track, takes listeners through the limitless possibilities of creating electronic dance music. The album begins with “Gods,” an atmospheric, acoustic guitar-fused vocal track that straddles between mellow downtempo and big room house. It’s not until halfway through the track that the ethereal voice of Ruben Haze is introduced. The heavily reverbed vocals give this track a really deep and emotional emphasis, reminding me of a cross between Kaskede’s older tracks, Swedish House Mafia and The XX. Next on the album is “Super Sounds,” a retro sounding instrumental track that marks a very upbeat and groovy addition to the album. The beautiful vocal track “Until the End” features Los Angeles native Joe Gil. According to Joe’s bio, he has no professional training in music but contrary to his lack of formal education in the art, this song goes to show how far a passion can take you. This track is an exquisite work of composition and production, brimming with sonic euphoria that you’ll lose yourself in; I dare you to just listen to it only once, the task will prove itself difficult. Once you move on from the previous track, Dirty South switches the mood up with “Champions.” This track is geared towards the club environment with its subby kicks and risers. Slowing down the tempo, “Sunrise” reflects Dirty South’s dynamics as a producer to go from explosive to mellow. “Your Heart” features Joe Gil but focuses the attention on the instrumental aspect of the track. “Reset” is a big room track that incorporates subby kicks, discorded builds and massive synth melodies. The energy in this track is incredible. The vocoded vocals of Rudy generate an eerie and melancholy intro to “Something Like You.” This track is the only track on the album that emphasizes downheartedness which makes it unique. When I hear the track “Sunset” I picture just that, a sunset, gleaming over the horizon while friends and I dance around and make memorable moments. To end the brilliant album, Dirty South saves the self-titled track “Speed of Life” for last. The track takes its time to build up the tension until about halfway when the big room leads fill out the high ends and the low kicks add a warm and thick lower end. The track reminds me of Alesso’s remix of “Pressure” by Nadia Ali, Starkillers and Alex Kenji. Overall, this album delivers what fans anticipated and really reflects the remarkable talent of Dirty South to create an impressive album of diverse songs that can easily hold up on their own.
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