Jerome Isma-Ae is known throughout the Progressive House world as an outlier, opting to focus more on situating his own sound as a producer instead of following the trends. His music is not the high end anthem fare of regular producers and his high energy productions go far and beyond of what Progressive hold as their ideals. He also does not forgo into the greasy corners of regular Electro fare. Instead, we can describe the ‘Isma-Ae‘ sound as sophisticated and confident, with edgy but simple sounds driving the force behind his productions. Each movement and timbre is carefully deliberate and showcases the Big Room quality that Jerome strives for. A true technician with 15 years of knowledgeable experience, Isma-Ae always delivers class Originals, such as his fantastic Speed and the iconic 959 with a Porsche reving and changing gears at the end of his track. But today, we take a look at his high end, minimalist remix to Haroun Hickman & Rashid Ajami‘s track, Let’s Be Free.
Instead of attacking chordal structures head on, Isma-Ae takes another route, instead choosing to explore the timbral side of music. Most of the piece is only situated around a concert B note, but surprisingly, it is still refreshing to hear after every phrase. He dives head first into manipulating and utilizing an array of percussive sounds, such as claps, high speed ride cymbals, reverbed crashes and a gorgeous off beat wood block in the distance. The piece is situated in sixteenth notes with a cool, futuristic synth, (perfect for clubs) and it forces the listener to listen to the other elements of the track. When something is off beat, it gains prevalence and sticks out as a unique change of pace. It also helps in the sense that he uses a modified human voice not for lyrics but for color and texture. The second drop garners even more energy than the first one, as it replaces the wood block with huge, sweeping synth stabs that reverberate heavily in a large room. The second drop does not deviate much, but it doesn’t matter, as the vast choices of percussion that Isma-Ae has hand-picked more than makes up for its lack of chordal structure.
Many times when a person hears a piece, they skip to the drop and take note if they like the music or not. But Isma-Ae‘s sound is for those mature enough to really listen into what they are hearing. His music is for the conisseur’s ear and if you take note of the different timbres he utilizes, you realize how much of an experimental piece this is. Let’s Be Free almost represents a Techno piece rather than a Progressive House piece and yet, he still maintains that groove that many listeners can dance along to, casual or refined. All in all, it is a fantastic release that is deadly in arenas and in the confines of your own head. We here at Your EDM applaud Isma-Ae for his bold inquisition into inovating the industry and being loyal to his own, distinct sound and characteristics. We see a big future with him (with his remix to Above & Beyond pres. Tranquility Base‘s Razorfish already becoming a smash hit) and we will definately keep a close eye on him from now on. Jerome Isma-Ae‘s remix of Haroun Hickman & Rashid Ajami‘s Let’s Be Free is now available on Sambuca Recordings on Beatport. Get on over there and pick up this stellar release today.
Keep the music alive. -Q
Unsung Heroes is a weekly segment where we take a look back at an amazing production and bring it back into the light for older and newer fans alike. These tracks were often overlooked, overshadowed by a huge release or are just not that well known to the public here in America. Here, you can find all the hidden gems in many genres and find a new favorite track (or another tool/weapon for aspiring DJ’s).