Max Cooper: Expressions EP Part 1

Max Cooper has risen from humble roots to become one of the most in demand, up and coming DJ/producers on the scene in a startlingly short time.

His technical wizardry behind the decks has been melting crowds from familiar surroundings – playing at his long term residency at Nottingham’s ‘Firefly’ club night – to dates all over the UK and Europe. His productions have garnered interest from many big names, Max has recently remixed Hot Chip and none-other than one of the godfathers of modern house music, Sasha, has been hammering Max’s sublime remix of his club classic ‘Xpander’ in recent months. (A release I await with baited breath!) It is the distinctiveness and emotion that Max brings to his productions that make them such a worthwhile addition to any fan of electronic music’s collection. His upcoming release ‘Expressions’ is no exception.

The EP opens with ‘Ripple’, a moody minimal masterpiece, which despite its somewhat melancholic nature still manages to leave the listener curiously uplifted. Awash with ethereal synth sounds, the track is laced with eerie vocal samples and a bass line which brings fantastic warmth to the overall feel of the track. Whilst an intense and powerful listen, an element of subtlety is still apparent: gentle yet powerful build-ups are executed perfectly and the track isn’t lost in the ghostly chaos which makes it such a head turner. For me this is the sign of a producer who is conscious of bringing a balance to his work. The sampling – particularly the percussion – is fantastic; something which I have come to expect from Max’s work. From what sounds like a gentle tap on a wooden block, or a coin being thrown into a jar, to sounds whose origins I can’t even fathom. Max consistently brings fresh samples to the table, tweaks them and creates wonderfully off the wall percussion loops to create a far more interesting and engaging listen, than a run of the mill electronic release.

‘Enveloped’ is the second track on the release and will be accompanied by a (no doubt mind bending) video by Whiskas FX. ‘Enveloped’ encompasses a lot of what we have come to expect from Max and some things which we have not. The melancholic feel, ethereal synths and distinctive percussion and sampling are indeed present. Intertwined into this package however, we have a wonderfully soft chord loop, which you may think may be more often found in a prog house track, but when accompanied with Max’s minimal 2-step beat, the effect is profound. It’s a unique experience: Max has put together sounds which don’t usually belong together and made them sound like they were made for this arrangement. Whilst this may not be the one for a peak time set, it will certainly take the listener on a aural journey they will not have experienced before.
Spanish producer Maetrik’s Remix of ‘Chaotisch Serie’ is definitely one for the club, a brutally simple thudding bass line, accompanied by rasping clap samples, demonic synths and some genuinely creepy breathing sounds make this a perfect addition to the collection of any DJ who’s playing at a dark dingy rave.

‘Sea Of Sound’ is the final track on the release and serves as a fitting end to the EP. Max again impresses; slow and moody, the track uses wonderfully slow and shimmering synth sounds which meld together to form some beautiful, soothing chord sequences. The percussion is quiet, yet effective and subtle, so as not to usurp the more melodic elements of the track, leaving the listener lost in the dream-like world it seems to evoke.

In all honesty, Ripple and Enveloped really impressed me. It’s not often on the modern dance scene, full of Deadmau5’s and David Guetta’s, to hear tracks which have been produced both meticulously and intelligently, creating something unique and distinctive. As well as all of this, the release still manages to display an unusual depth of feeling and emotion, and perhaps just as importantly, creates music that makes you stop and think.

Expressions Part 1 is released on 1st November, followed by additional remixes in Part 2 expected to be released November 17th.

For more info take a look at www.maxcooper.net

Simon Bhana.

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