In the late 2000s/early 2010’s Gary Curran AKA maXIon was building a reputation as one of the hottest producers in the UK and Ireland….
He released three albums with his band The Japanese Popstars – 2008’s We Just Are through Gung Ho! Records, 2011’s Controlling Your Allegiance with Virgin/EMI that saw them work with the likes of Robert Smith (The Cure), Jon Spencer (Blues Explosion) and Tom Smith (Editors) and 2013’s Disconnect / Reconnect through John Digweed’s Bedrock Records.
He had multiple awards to his name, winning “Best Live Act” at the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Irish Music Awards and also “Best Album” in 2009. They were voted “Best Breakthrough Producers” at the DJ Mag Best of British Awards 2008 and awarded “No.1 Dance Album” by Hotpress magazine. They also received nominations for “Best House DJs” at the 2006 World Urban Music Awards, “Best Live Performance” at the 2007 Northern Ireland Music Awards.
He remixed records for the likes of Beyonce, Daft Punk and Depeche Mode and counted The Chemical Brothers and Orbital among his and his bands contemporaries, but despite this burgeoning career, by the mid 2010’s Gary took a step back from music creation. Something had changed for him; he was left devoid of the drive and motivation to produce music, the “thing” inside him, that “tingle on the back of his neck” was not there!
Fast forward to 2020, with a little more time on his hands, he decided to dabble again, for nothing more than the fun of it, just allowing the music to determine the sound, and soon the “buzz” from the early days of making music came back, and the result of this labour of love is ‘Curvatures’.
Musically, the album’s sonic journey is suited to a range of settings and best listened to in full, from start to finish. With its sparse, near-ambient electronic production, opening track ‘Inception’ conjures an ethereal atmosphere that flows effortlessly into the cinematic ‘Elara’. The vibe then changes to ominous melodic techno (‘Tensor’ and ‘Chakra’, and the darker ‘Scalar’, all of which you could imagine Tale Of Us playing in their DJ sets). ‘Trimaxion’, at the halfway point, wouldn’t sound out of place on the soundtrack of a science-fiction film, its scanning synth piercings recalling ‘War Of The Worlds’.
While the energy of the album’s final third switches from introspection to the dancefloor, it still manages to find a balance between both worlds. The light breakbeats of ‘Memories’ might be club-ready, but the twinkling synth undercurrent adds another dimension to the overall soundscape. Similarly, although the poolside bliss of ‘Arpsidaisy’ and ‘Feel For You’ start off with steady house beats and rubbery synths, each track is given extra texture (either via breezy wind chimes or twinkling synths). Ending things on a grateful and hopeful note, the reflective album closer ‘The Time We Had’ slowly simmers everything back down to a state of electronic tranquility – after some head-y drum crashes and ominous chords, of course.
On the sound of the record, Curran remarked… “In the past it would have been a bit banging, but these songs are more suppressed and mellow with a deliberate effort to encourage the listener to lean into the music and allow people to tap into the different sides and emotions of it”
Sttream / Download album here