Review – Paul’s spheksophobia goes into Manual overdrive

Artist: Paul Hazendonk
Title: Spheksophobia
Label: Manual Music
Release: Out Now
Genre: Progressive

Dutchman Paul Hazendonk has been pretty busy for the last fifteen years not only touring the world as a DJ but also successfully running his Manual Music imprint. The label has not only introduced us to some superbly talented Dutch artists such as the awesome Applescal but also proved a magnet for established artists from the progressive spheres, with heavy hitters such as Henry Saiz and Guy J jumping on board to release on the label. Meanwhile, Hazendonk has steadily amassed releases on a variety of labels such as Sudbeat, Kittball and Diynamic proving he is a powerful force on the European techno and progressive scene.

Here Hazendonk takes time out from his hectic touring schedule to release on his own imprint and produces two deep evolving cuts which prove he has still got those sharp production skills. Opening proceedings is ‘Spheksophobia,’ which apparently means a persistent fear of wasps. Anyone who has observed me in the presence of wasps, performing manoeuvres which can only be described as part LSD freakout, part berserker breakdance, will understand why I immediately felt some empathy for the creator of the track.

Fortunately, the vaguely menacing drone effects, which kick the track off, didn’t bring on a bout of the fear and I managed to continue listening. Chugging along for a whopping ten minutes, the track meanders down deep melodic paths interspersed by discordant stabs and reinforced by the amply proportioned bass line. A hybrid of deep house, European techno and progressive tendencies the track undeniably highlights Hazendonk’s spectrum of influences.

‘Profound Shift Of Conceptual Awareness’ sounds like something I might read on one of my wife’s yoga CD’s, nevertheless, it was my favourite on the EP. Seven minutes of dreamy arpeggio-laced post-trance that grooves along sublimely with subtle chord changes and punchy percussion. Again there are some nods to European techno and the legacy of deep Dutch, melodic music is apparent, with the track reminding me of some of the early works of Jamez and Dobre. The man from Rotterdam done good; this is intelligent, deep and most importantly danceable music.

About the Author

Record collector, music maker and spurs fanatic Geraint Rees has been involved in DJing and club promotion for well over a decade. He is currently a promoter and DJ for the four:four project, a Manchester collective who organise club events that support a range of worthwhile charities and promote high quality music. Over the last few years he has produced techno as Acitone for labels such as Stripped and Hype Music. In his free time, he is found regularly inhabiting a dark box like hole known as ‘the studio’ and trying to rear his band of unruly cats.