Eric Prydz’ debut album soars to all-time greatness
He brings in the old,
He brings in the new;
He’s done something special,
He’s brought ‘Opus’ to you.
In reviewing the Swedish Progressive House King’s latest album, his formal debut album as it were, you do feel strangely poetic after listening to it multiple times. While no stranger to album creation, with it being 10 years in the making, Eric Prydz’ ‘Opus’ was rare before it had even been finished.
Having been in the making for nearly 20 years, ‘Opus’ really is something special. It acts as a symbol of the development and journey Prydz has been on to reach the stage he is at in his career. A career so illustrious it has already achieved legendary status. Which is likely a blessing in disguise for the album itself. There was no pressure to prove a point with this album like so many debut albums. It was simply a chance for Eric to compile and explore his creativity and musical genius.
Building to rise, or rising to build again, the atmospheric manipulation of each song, and ‘Opus’ in its entirety, is mightily impressive and a result only possible by a handful of men. The significance of his subtleness can only be appreciated in hindsight. Curating a masterful effect one layer and one sound at a time takes a number of hours more than your standard radio track. Naturally nonconforming to modern-day practices, the 2-disk album contains 19 original tracks, culminating in 125 minutes of Progressive House mastery. With the tracklist including the best of the old, new, teased and unheard, the combination of musical memories and refreshing audio is potent, and addictive.
With some of his most illusive ID’s now emerging with names, their formalization brings with it a set of nostalgic emotions and memories. Delving into the treasure-troves of Pryda comes the reemergence of some of his fans favourite’s, “Liam” and “Mija”. Having been peaks from of his most distinctive mixes, the firsts’ metallic string progression arches over the surging chords and sits neatly above pulse-syncing beat – resulting in a suitably mood-setting introduction. With “Mija” being re-scored, the slightly harder, and more symphonic track brings with it the vocals snippets that have so often defined Prydz’ musical character. Also coming from the same era is “Every Day”, a track not requiring a description, rather a prompt and friendly reminder to and revisit it now that it has finally been released.
It also leads smoothly into the grand inclusion of some of his other well known, iconic tracks. Featuring “Generate”, “Liberate”, and rightfully his recent “Opus”, adds the ‘E.P.I.C’ element that reflects Prydz’ career. The specialty of the two vocal tracks not only contribute to the timeless aspect of the album, but also act as a nod to the fans and their popularity. And with the 9-minute instrumental “Opus” rightfully rounding off the album and entering the same sphere of recognition, the 4 tracks combine as anchors for the lathering of new material provided by Eric Prydz.
This in turn brings us to review his new sound’s, his new development’s, his new atmosphere’s. With many being featured in recent times as climatic soundtracks in his sets and mixes, it feels like a coming of age. A time where so much of Prydz’ work that was in its youth and infancy, has finally matured and developed their place in his portfolio. Whereas for some of the tracks, they have just seen the light of day.
“Moody Mondays”, “Som Sas” and “Floj” fit into the first category, where their elevation to release and album feature reflect their respective vocal power, deep chords and undulating layers. The albums tracks such as “Trubble”, “Sunset at Cafe Mambo” and “Klepht” also recognize the influence of his alias’ influence and iconic locations on his career . The first gives ode to the Cirez D alias, showing a darker, more distorted spectrum of sound and mood. Joined 3 tracks later by the rightful nod to Ibiza, a place where Eric Prydz has emerged himself with Progressive House, Sunset’s and Sunrise’s at the Mecca for electronic dance music. The latter of the three however shows elements of his more common alias, Pryda. Similar in sound to the likes of the “The Matrix” and “Eclipse”, the differing tempo’s, dynamic bridges and melody lengths help define each of them as independent individuals in their own right.
Not to the forget the second-longest offering by on the album, “Oddity” demonstrates its name throughout the 8 minutes. Not quite a full representation of any of his alias’, rather a combination, it is both satisfying and perplexing, indulging the mind and senses in a fusion of sound and technique. And lest we forget “Breathe”, the coming together of two of house musics most forward and appreciative minds. Given the vocal edge by Rob Swire himself, the smooth building of atmosphere and release of adulation it causes reflects that of the whole album.
Eric Prydz’ ‘Opus’ is not just an album. Or a timeless one at that. It is a showcase of a mighty career; a demonstration of possibility and creation; a celebration of skill, talent and technique rolled into one. It balances both loyal tastes of lesser known’s with that of commercial success and popularity. In turn reflecting the Swede’s position as one of the most intimate untouchables. One where his atmospheric music creates a tight bond, but his passion for creation not consumption keeps him at arm lengths.
And while superlatives are always thrown at and around his work, it takes a special kind of person to do what Eric Prydz does. An applied, dedicated mind. One that is liberated, distractionless and pressure-free. And that is why such praise surrounds his work. It is not sensationalism or bias, it simply tries to make the purity of his efforts and the resulting material tangible and describable. Thus leaving his album, his personal opus, to be held in the highest regard for decades to come.
Listen to the album in full on Spotify below and grab your copy of Eric Prydz’ “Opus” today!