Every once in a while, we here at Your EDM like to shake things up with a left field review of a highly unknown piece and today, we are happy to introduce you to the mesmerizing world of Ranji. Those of you who have a slight background in Psy Trance may recognize him as one half of Class A, the Progressive Trance duo who’s obsessive sense of bass laden control methodologies have greedily crushed many a Psy set. While he is indeed a strict Psy Trance artist at heart, Ranji instead focuses his efforts on creating a sub-genre called Pure Progressive and while we think of regular Prog with artists like Shingo Nakamura, LTN and Blood Groove & Kikis, there exists a sublet of Psy that contains its own, self sustaining ecosystem of artists and sounds, which features artists like Symphonix, NOK and Interactive Noise. Pure Progressive within Psy is characterized by its minimalistic tendencies and selective Electro and Trance elements infused within, as the constant drone of kicks and bass stabs occurring every single eighth note provides a fascinating sound design that remains clean and sterile, yet wild and unpredictable. To demonstrate this new sound, Ranji has leaped forth with a fresh tri-EP that features an Original track by him, as well as two vastly different collaborations with fellow artists Tezla and Replay. If you have never heard of any of these names, or are wanting to get into Psy Trance, this is definitely the perfect starting point to start your own musical journey.
Ranji- Lights On (Original Mix)
The first thing that strikes us as prevalent is the exceptional amount of control and prowess that is within each and every phrase. The entire orchestration is as clean as a whistle and every little nuance that could be manipulated has been tweaked to the point of compulsive mania. An interesting phenomenon is the subtle incorporation of Progressive and Pop in the otherwise immaculate breakdown, as the mellifluous vocals could easily fit inside an anthemic Prog House tune. With the offset of offset harmonic synths and clipped, but expansive motives, a male voice calmly states, ‘Fuck the party‘, before it smoothly and confidently switches into the drop with minimal effort and changes in power and speed. Open ended and growly are two words to best describe the breakdown, as the minimalistic architecture allows the smallest of changes to be heard with exceptionally excruciating detail. As the perfect gap that bridges Progressive House with the open/shut sounds of Psy Trance, it is a tune that both appeals to the hardcore listener as well as the casual dancer who just wants a track to groove to.
Ranji & Testa- Sideline (Original Mix)
This track borrows the creamy cool vocals of indie rocker Brad Sucks and his track of Guess Who’s A Mess, with the vocals of ‘Everybody says that you’re so messed up, but you’re no‘ and ‘Sidelines‘ being chopped and sliced to shreds throughout the full sonic landscape. One aspect that is really incredible about the entire EP is its sheer diversity, and while Sideline might be categorized in the same style as Lights On, the two exist on completely different spectrums of the genre. While Lights On was generally more poppy, subdued and open in its own design, Sideline is more active and engaging, with hints of Electro and Glitch becoming increasingly apparent as time wears on. The grittiness of the Electro lines gently caresses the brooding Psy basslines throughout their complex and intricate dances and the inclusion of seriously wicked techy woodblocks makes the track edgy, groovy and downright danceable in our eyes. The breakdown is eerily similar to Coming Soon‘s style and while they might be alike in many ways, Ranji inputs his own splatter fueled interpretation upon the mix. As the transition slows down to mere wood blocks, egregiously funky slapbass guitars signal the exciting drop that sends surprises and textures shooting wildly like bootleg firecrackers in the night.
Ranji & Replay- Raumklang (Original Mix)
Out of the entire EP, this last track is the one that provides the most accurate interpretation of Psy Trance that everyone is familiar with, and it does away with the Pure Progressive theme of the other two tracks. What’s also interesting is the perfect Middle Eastern theme and theory that resides within Raumklang; which is also strange, because the title itself is a German name that means Space Sound, and yet, it is written in a style that’s thousands of miles away. It begins with a beautifully expansive cinematic landscape that boasts great specialized instruments such as the oud, which creates the mysterious and captivating Arabic string melody. Instead of steering things towards the eighth note madness of the first two tracks, it decides to spin a 360 on us and slam us to the floor with relentless, liquidized, sixteenth note basslines. Even though it really racks on the power and torque, Raumking still manages to keep its sense of vulnerability and tact within an open-air concept arrangement, and only allows a sparse amount of instruments to work their magic at any given time. One aspect that I personally love is the sublime triplet section where the vocals stating, “It’s that kind of story… where things just got so out of control“, which then signals an unusual word play between the ever constant basslines and the odd, almost goofy sounds that adds massive amounts of groove and jive. It’s complicated even further when the Arabic theory elements are added in and Ranji experiments with phaser effects for a heavy footed release that’s both insanely complicated and also brilliantly simplistic.
Ranji‘s Lights On EP is out now on Blue Tunes Music via Beatport, so make sure you purchase a copy, (or all three tracks), and support real talent today!
Keep the music alive. -Q