Thursday, December 22, 2011

Miguel Migs - Outside The Skyline (2011) Album Review

Let me just cut to the chase: This record is great. If you're a fan of soul and wouldn't mind a twist of electronica in the mix, this album will do well for your ears.

Most of you probably haven't heard of Miguel Migs before. This guy was a fixture in the Hed Kandi series way back in the early 00's, and I've followed his work ever since I heard "Do It For You", and not long afterwards "Brand New Day". I just knew right there and then that this guy was special. He was one of the frontrunners of the emergence of deep house (if there was any) back in the day along with Kaskade/Late Night Alumni, Andy Caldwell, Blue Six, Aquanote, Ananda Project - guys that helped spawn the deep house craze and launched the Beach House series (among others) of the Hed Kandi label into the stratosphere. And while these other acts have disappeared or moved on to more synth-y house music, it's quite good to see Miguel Migs stand his ground and keep deep house alive. And deep house it is. It's his bread and butter.

His previous album, "Those Things" was pretty upbeat, and while it had his trademark grooves and basslines, I feared he was going the same route as Kaskade, a DJ who has since shed his deep house roots for a more synthetic sound. But after hearing the more chilled and relaxed "Outside The Skyline", I knew this guy knew his place. He knows his strengths and plays them. And he plays them well.

As a producer, he is unparalleled when it comes to bass grooves. The way he uses the bass to bring life to his songs is nothing short of genius. It's so full of texture, depth, and soul, and I can't help but feel a sense of joy as I hear it squirm and shift to the rhythmic tendencies of the body. You should know that most other DJ's simply pound the bass out of their mixes without second thoughts, but you could tell Miguel Migs spends a great deal of time, care, and thought creating and tweaking it to perfectly mesh into the mix without losing soul as well as "oomph". The only blemish in this album is the presence of afro-jamaican inspired tracks that throws the mood off a bit - something that's become a habit of Migs when formulating his tracklists for albums (also present in "Those Things").

Nonetheless, "Outside The Skyline" is a record so soulful, chill, and boasts the best bass work of any deep house production in recent memory. This record is as 'deep' as deep house can get. Definitely the new benchmark for any deep house records coming out in the near future and for many years to come.

- Rich bass grooves guaranteed to keep your head a-noddin.
- The best deep house offering in recent memory

- Some Afro-Jamaican inspired tracks feel out of place

9 out of 10

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