A couple of months back we reviewed the critically acclaimed album “Giving Up”, by Barcelona-based producer and artist Plastic DJ. Now less than two months later, bounces back with a brand new project entitled “Breathe Me In”. The craft of being a DJ is in producing your own tunes and not just spinning another’s music; live EDM has become more about the visuals than the skill of producing live; and music is best when produced in a well-equipped studio and not the back of a touring bus. This album fits nicely within this doctrine. It also extends the reach of Plastic DJ’s signature Deep House and Downtempo sounds. Most significantly, the album showcases a shift toward the high-minded, super-precise production vibe of upper echelon house producers.
Plastic DJ’s tracks are immediately recognizable — impossible pin-drop clear production, moody chords, and deep, wide bass with a bounce. Soulful vocals, warms keys and throbbing percussion completes the formula. What Plastic DJ does really well and what makes his records so appealing, is the marriage of melodies and thick club grooves that sound weightier, but cooler than other producers.
You can tell he pays attention to his craft like it’s a science. Like it or not, the Spaniard is a talented music producer, and nowhere is that more apparent than when he’s sticking to what he does well on “Breathe Me In”.
Right from track one, “I’ll Be a Chemical”, Plastic DJ excels, helped no small amount by his phenomenal attention to detail in regards to production, and his choice of vocalists. The female voice is both soulful and haunting, as she pushes her voice to each edge of the sonic spectrum.
Vibrant splashes of funky bass run rampant throughout “Moths On The Moon”, complete with a sense of ingenuity, innovation, and most importantly, upbeat energy. There is more than enough substance in this album, each track demanding your attention, delivering an unexpected twist from the one that precedes it.
The common factor running throughout the opening three tracks, including “Where Did You Go?”, is the stunning vocals. I was blown away on each occasion by the resonating melodies, and captivating female vocals. Especially this latter track, which is vocally nuanced to perfection.
The thumping beat, thrusting bassline and slinky keys, are enough to make me listen to this song over and over again. The production is at such a high standard that it is difficult to see this as the work of any less than a consummate professional. If I had to choose one outstanding element on this album, it has to the bass work.
From track to track, the basslines are nothing less than stunningly dynamic. The same applies to “You and Me”, which features a laidback male vocal. Plastic DJ incorporates some enticing elements into his new work, and the French-accented “Pardon” use some intriguing and catchy vocal samples.
“Breathe” introduces some rap verses in support of the stabbing keyboard motifs, but once again it’s the thick, throbbing funky basslines that draws the most attention. “Forever in Your Heartbeat” returns to the diva-like female vocals, adding an ethereal and mystical flavor to the mesmerizing soundscape.
At the heart of gratifying Deep House or Downtempo music is an ability to induce a meditative state by creating sparse, cloud-like instrumental layers. Grasping at this quality certainly has the potential to be transcendent, but can wind up underwhelming and forgettable if it’s not executed masterfully.
“She’s Go Away” is a showcase for how to execute masterfully. The end result is striking, making it arguably one of the best stand-alone tracks of the album. “Breathe Me In” exhibits Plastic DJ’s full potential, providing a great number of breathtaking moments.