Review – Marching forward with Dustin Nantais

Artist: Dustin Nantais
Title: Marching Through the Universe
Label: Wide Angle Recordings
Release: Out Now
Genre : Progressive House

From his early days touring with an indie-punk rock band to DJ-ing at clubs such as Toronto’s Limelight and Comfort Zone, Dustin Nantais has always had an insatiable appetite for music. Perhaps he was born with it. Playing guitar and piano at the age of ten, heavily influenced by a musical family, there was certainly no denying the path on which his passion would take him.

Having found his true calling in production, Dustin has built himself an impressive catalogue of originals and remixes. Dating back to 2012 with some of his first releases on labels such as Mystery Train, Trojan House Records, Groove Garden & Tribu Recordings, he’s been carefully and consistently developed his sound through signature playful percussion and deep, moving melodies. His connection with Manual Music’s, Paul Hazendonk & Proton’s iconic Particles label took his career to new heights with multiple releases on each, including remixes by the likes of Dale Middleton and Stas Drive for his latest Dagger EP.

Being closely attuned to Dustin’s music for years, I’ve seen a solid progression through each new creation. And so when I heard this latest gem for the very first time, I could sense the maturity and crispness oozing from my headphones – and the excitement that arose knowing I was privy to being one of the first to hear what I believe is some of his best work to date.

Signed to a well-respected Canadian label run by Blake Sutherland, Marching Through The Universe (a two-track EP) comes to us this month on Wide Angle Recordings. It’s a label celebrating its 8th year with this special mix, incorporating Dustin’s new track, from Blake himself: 8 years of Wide Angle.

“All year I was thinking I really wanted to take the label back to the roots of melodic dance music. I’d heard some of Dustin’s work on Manual and recognized that it was exactly that; groovy music for the dance floor but with really lovely melodies and musical arrangements.” ~ Blake Sutherland, Wide Angle Recordings

Gaining recent attention from veteran Lee Burridge at All Day I Dream, Marching has that definitive dreamy quality. Hooking its listener in the first few bars with a tightly stacked line of percussion paired with a warm pad, it builds nicely in to the first minute right when the strings kick in. Enveloped in bubbling jet-like filters, the energy intensifies & a seductive groove draws you in. Like Alice in Wonderland, skipping through the forest – heading straight for the rabbit hole – we march firmly along.

“I’ve always been partial to including some sort of natural sounding or acoustic instrumentation in my music. I’ve used the staccato strings for leads before, but when I wrote the line for Marching it seemed to fit the vibe in a very unique way. Paired with the percussion on this track, which I think is 50% of the flow, and pulsing orchestral strings, it all came together quite well.” – Dustin Nantais

An epic string session at 4 minutes initiates an exquisitely crafted breakdown and one finds themself magically transported in to pure symphonic delight. There’s not a moment lacking substance – not a tone without intention. Every key, every chord serves a purpose. And when it’s ready to drop at half past 5, the dance vibe is fully ignited and the trek through the hills & valleys of the galaxy forges on. Warm kicks & a wistful melody add further depth and like an oasis in the middle of the desert, the reward awaits.

Rounding out this splendid EP is the flip side to Marching – a slightly darker, synth-infused journey entitled Hearts & Minds. Exhibiting some of Dustin’s classic ‘knocking’ percussive riffs, the spacey quality meshed with a smooth industrial undertone satisfies our more portentous craving.

With remixes from Pole Folder & Mauro Norti coming in early October, Marching Through The Universe should easily be at the top of any music connoisseur’s playlist. For there simply is no question of the rich texture & uplifting manner in which this composition flows; a beauty which resonates throughout the track’s entirety, as one navigates the universe – one tiny dot at a time.

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About the Author

Bonnie Lynch aka juSt b - intensely passionate music lover, DJ, adventurer, story-teller. Driven by robust intuition & an acute auditory sense for intelligent depth & substance, Bonnie takes pride in crafting unforgettable musical journeys and hopes, through her writing, to capture & share equally memorable moments of artists she admires.