There’s an abstract energy to Belgian label DHB’s latest compilation album, ‘2021 Celebration Compilation,’ a collection of melodic tracks that transport listeners to futuristic worlds. Set for release on the 24th December 2021, the compilation record boasts an array of emerging underground talent and notable artists, compiled for a hypnotic and innovative sonic journey.
The album begins with guest artist Airwave, a celebrated electronic dance producer, best known for his progressive trance work, and a proud accomplishment for DHB who features Airwave’s track ‘The Pulse’ as the opening track. Rhythmic and percussive, ‘The Pulse’ is a driving force, experimenting with exotic textures and haunting melodic sounds, an urban feel to the progressive soundscape. This theme runs throughout the album, an intense energy captured through heavy electronic drum beats, deep basslines, and magnetic synthesizers.
At times there is dystopian intensity, like DHB artist NICKO/////, whose techno contribution ‘Big Mama’ is industrial in its pulsating rhythms, dissonant melodies, and disjointed growling vocals, a frenzied wildness consumed in cinematic tension.
Other artists opt for something more mesmeric, like label manager and producer Nico P with his track ‘Anamata,’ an afro house composition with an otherworldly essence, using mallet synths, percussive timbres, deep sub-bass, and scattered male vocals.
Producer Jickow, who has past experience with the DHB label, blends a fusion of both intensity and atmospheric darkness in ‘Extraworld,’ with eerie melodies complemented by soft sweeping pads and steady techno rhythms that keep the momentum throughout.
‘Unleash’ by Klaudius, a DHB artist who previously released his successful track ‘Horizon’ on the label’s Melodic Summer Compilation, experiments for 10 minutes with futuristic sonics, manipulating and shape-shifting sounds and tempos, while introducing female vocals.
Another DHB collaborator, Mad Gregor, also takes the same approach with ‘Laika,’ a brooding landscape with scattering synths and a female vocal melody that brings an exotic and unearthly quality to the record.
DJ and producer Phil Monday introduces the shortest track on the album. At less than 6 minutes long ‘Alpha Wave’ is moody with melancholy pads and replicated female vocals that hold an air of mystery.
Long-time DHB artist Divestorm experiments with synths that glitch and scatter in ‘Bohemian,’ changing the tone with dark jarring bass lines.
‘Eternity’ is a collaboration between producer Ramioul and partner Miotti using obscure bass and vocals, accentuated by techno tendencies.
Bringing the album to a close is the Divestorm remix of FATÏA’s ‘Aiwa,’ a playful track that embodies techno vibes, delayed synth patterns and sweeping pads. The interest, however, lies within the sound effects, like the cry of an animal in a rainforest, or the atmospheric violin fragments that take center stage.
‘2021 Celebration Compilation’ is an eclectic mix of all deep and melodic genres, pushing boundaries but most importantly, celebrating artists from all stages of their career, a depiction of what music really means; connection and collaboration.