Artist: Various Artists
Title: Ma’ana: Sounds of Dubai
Label: Bootleg Social Records
Release : 20th July 2015
Genre: House and Techno
Dubai is a city of superlatives where all kinds of cultures and nationalities live together peacefully. Oil and Trade rich, Dubai is known for its opulence and style and with that comes an active vibrant nightlife attracting the world’s best music artists and DJ’s playing alongside a host of locally based musical talent.
After moving to Dubai in 2014, Tobie Allen, head honcho at Bootleg Social Records saw and heard this local talent first hand. He realised he had a platform for local producers to showcase their music in Dubai and internationally; Ma’ana: Sounds of Dubai was born. Over the last year Tobie and his Bootleg Social team have auditioned and collected a variety of tracks from Dubai’s best dance music producers.
Taking in everything from Nu Disco, Deep House, Soulful and Tech House right through to Techno, the response to his call was overwhelming. From an initial 65 submissions, and with careful consideration, the final track listing was shortened to 21 varied club cuts showcasing a wealth of talent. Ma’ana is an honest and up to date representation of club music from the crème of the producer crop in the Dubai scene. First in what is to be a series of compilations from Bootleg Social Records highlighting dance music in the region and kindly supported by Red Bull.
The opening bars of Conan Liquids ‘Disco, Non Disco’ its very clear a lot of time and effort has gone in to the construction of this album. Tobie has worked tirelessly over the years to forge a niche sound with BSR: quality house music, and the tracks featured here are very much at the pinnacle of that long journey towards perfection. Rather than a silky smooth “progressive” ride, the tracks and the transitions between them scream party vibe, such that Andy Buchan’s epic You2 sits snugly with Arcade 82, and provide an early highlight with its acid flecks, breakbeat and unabashed 80s vibe. Moments later we flex to the subby reese bass of Tom Chubb’s brilliant ‘Still Drive’. Onward we go and now well loosened up, the ride gets less bumpy with some gorgeous cuts from Ilona Maras and Rayner & Wisqo.
As we hit the 30 minute mark the sounds are very much tech influenced. Groovy and powerful, the mid section of the mix serves up treat after treat, elegantly shifting between genres with the grace of a formula one driver. The party is really getting going now. Considering the majority of the artists featured are unknown (to me at least) the addition of recognised stars like Thomas Gandey, Nick Hussey and Raxon (on remix duties) are difficult to determine from listening alone. The quality of all the tracks selected is outstanding, and a great deal of praise should go to the A&R team for staying true to the vision of the label.
As we draw up to an hour a familiar vocal greats my ears. Pop fans will recognise it from that Paolo Nutini track, but its actually a Charlie Chaplin monologue from his 1930s film – The Great Dictator, and the track ‘Dictator’ by Nick Hussey and Drinky is groovy as hell! Another gear up we head to the back straight.
The tracks now are decidedly more minimal and techy. My ears delight at the melodic techno of Smokingroove’s ‘Genco’ with its acid menace and sinister synths, a great track I’ll be hammering for a few months to come. And so to the final 30 minutes. Techno is the word here with choice cuts from Nick Hussey on a solo tip and an absolute face melter by main man Mr Allen, ably assisted by Shaun Warner. The party is in full swing now and Dubai is very much THE place to be.
01. Conan Liquid – Disco, Non Disco
02. Andy Buchan – You2
03. Arcade 82 – Never Enough
04. Tom Chubb – Still Drive
05. Ilona Maras, Stellar Disco Ft. Ana Coya – Invitation
06. Rayner & Wisqo – Deeply Fractured
07. Conan Liquid Ft. Quincy Maldano – Quincy’s Dream I Love (Dub Mix)
08. Ted Numan – Dusted
09. Raysoo – Nefafen
10. NFLNT – Get Lifted
11. Deep Hertz – Rollerblade
12. MXD – Less Than Nothing
13. Nick Hussey & Drinky – Dictator
14. Matthew Charles – Turkish For Lunch
15. Smokingroove – Genco
16. Thomas Gandey – Delirium (Raxon Remix)
17. Reddub & Sam Farsio – Most of Me
18. Tobie Allen – Breeze
19. Shaun Warner – Mahadi
20. Nick Hussey – See You Move
21. Shaun Warner & Tobie Allen – You Must Be Mine