It takes a lot to surprise someone who spends most of their time listening to progressive, be it House or Trance. Alex Wright‘s new one, ‘Whirlpool,’ out now on Pure Progressive, brings nothing but surprises at every turn. Even at its least active points, this track is full of rich, dynamic sounds. This is a safe one to play in the car no matter who is riding shotgun because it is lovable and infectious through-and-through.
Riding the line between House and Trance, ‘Whirlpool’ is not bogged down by expectations of what should be. Rather, it thrives in the space of what could be: if you used that unique vocal sample, if you let the bass do the talking, if you listened to yourself and produced music that you love, unhindered by outside expectations.
For all these reasons and more, Wright’s new single is extraordinary. This is not news to us at Trance Farm, and probably not to you either. But if this is somehow your first run-in with this artist, well, you’ve opened the book to a great chapter.
Trance and Progressive House often share the same stage, but occupy very different spaces in a listener’s mind; how would you describe the relationship between the two?
Progressive House and Progressive Trance both share a “Progressive” nature to the way the music is written. They slowly envelop and gradually build up, relying on a repetitive drum groove to move the tune along. The big difference between the two for me is Progressive Trance has “Trancier” sounds such as arpeggios, acids, detuned sawtooth sounds, rolling bass-lines and can have a higher tempo, whereas Progressive House doesn’t traditionally have a Trancey feel and focuses more on sounds that would be associated with House music such as organ-type synths, rhythmic piano chords, diva vocals, and a sound which is less space-like and more natural.
The bass-line in ‘Whirlpool’ is really sexy and begs you to move your body. Was this the first piece of the puzzle when you began production?
Well, I always start with a drum groove, then the bass-line comes to me naturally. I’ve always loved bass-lines that make you move and are exciting melodically. Making tracks in this style enables me to write MIDI sequences like that which intentionally work well on a dance floor. I see this track as part of a breed that’s created to notch things up when moving from steadier styles in a set towards harder-hitting material to get a room warmed up.
The jungly elements of this track set it apart from other songs I’ve listened to this week. When pulling unique elements like that, do you set out to be different, or is it simply what you find inspiring in the moment?
It’s interesting that you’ve brought up the word “jungle” whilst describing this track. You’re not the first to have done this with works of mine, and it is one of my musical influences for sure. I have a massive admiration for the UK underground sound, which developed around London and other areas throughout the ’90s, and it’s one of my sources of inspiration, particularly when sampling little snippets to make these groove-oriented kinds of tracks. Taking inspiration from these sources helps create the “old-school” feel, which many claim they can hear in my music.
What missing piece finally came together when producing that led you to say, “Okay, now it’s finished”?
That would be the build-up towards when the drums section kicks back in. I managed to move some FX around and add a neat little vocal sample to create suspense before the bass dropped, which I think works well.
What do we have to look forward to from you in the near future?
I have a remix coming up for a new single on Kyau & Albert’s Euphonic label which will be out in the next week, as well as a sold-out gig at Luminosity presents This Is Trance @ ADE 2019 in room 2 alongside Robert Nickson (who will be showcasing his new album), Kaimo K, and my Romanian uplifting buddies Exolight and Nikolauss on October 19th!
Alex Wright shows no signs of slowing down; to keep up, follow him here: