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Audio Asia: Max Essa's dreamy melodies meet a measure of club grit on Lukkas' remix of 'Matinee'

Brand new label Balearic Ensemble make a sparkling start with the 'Painting Of The Day EP'


  • Patrizio Cavaliere
  • 30 March 2021
Audio Asia: Max Essa's dreamy melodies meet a measure of club grit on Lukkas' remix of 'Matinee'

Title: Matinee (Lukkas Club Mix)
Artist: Max Essa
Label: Balearic Ensemble
Release Date: April 6

Brand new Barcelona-based imprint Balearic Ensemble bursts into glorious life with a particularly alluring EP from Yokohama's very own cosmic alchemist, Max Essa.

The 'Painting Of The Day EP' is the first in a series of releases in the works from a carefully-curated selection of Balearic-minded creators and comes complete with a varied set of remixes from Joe Morris, Lukkas, and Residentes Balearicos. Max Essa has been carving out exceptionally strong productions for over two decades, ranging in tone and texture from grubby late-night house to sparkling disco and soul-soothing Balearic meditations. He's released on top quality labels including Eskimo, Nang, Hell Yeah, Leng and Claremont 56 among many others, and also runs his own highly-regarded Jansen Jardin imprint. His latest offering sees him in typically fine fettle, delivering a pair of crisply-produced and subtly-varied ocean-side compositions. The EP opens with the exquisite textures and atmospheric harmonies of 'Matinee', weaving a blissed-out, mood-altering spell as lush pads and dextrous layers usher in a most captivating lead melody. 'Tempo Babadoh' ups the energy just a touch, as flanged guitars, lively percussion and deliciously bouncy bass drive the intoxicating rhythm while soaring strings and a freakishly funky lead synth cover the sonic canvas.

Clandestino's Joe Morris serves up a tastefully respectful interpretation of 'Tempo Babadoh', stripping things back a little while reinterpreting arrangement in a mix that brings out the subtle Chicago deviance of the original. Luca Averna and Ale Doretto join forces under their Residentes Balearicos, adding their sunset spin to the powerful melodies of 'Matinee', making the very most of the top-line in the process. All of the mixes are well worthy of focus, but we've opted to play you Lukkas' club-focused remix of 'Matinee' since we feel it's likely to tick the dance-ready boxes of the Mixmag Asia faithful. Lukkas adds a hefty dose of floor-filling edge to Max's horizontal original version, reframing the lead melody by layering saucer-eyed modulation and sub-heavy grit over hyped-up drums.

This is a varied and well-rounded collection from the freshly-birthed Balearic Ensemble, they've certainly done enough to pique our interest and we'll be watching out for their next moves with avid intent.

Max Essa 'Painting Of The Day EP' is out April 6, you can buy it here

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