Dirty South is one of the most innovative producers at work today. His discography features prominent collaborations and singles that went to cement his position in the scene as a true tastemaker. Travelling everywhere from sunny progressive house, to dark and gritty electro and tech, Dirty South is a fabled DJ who has played the world over. Coming as his second album of 2018 and fourth studio album in his career, “darko” is unlike majority of what we have heard from him before. Chalked full of smooth rhythms, atmospheric timbres, and pulsing beats, “darko” is a lively collection of the crepuscular side of Dirty South.
Following his album “XV” released in January which featured collaborations with Rudy and ANIMA!, “darko” is 100% South and is all instrumental. Diving into the first track, “Temps” is a smouldering cauldron of rich analog, vintage, and raspy synth work that features a fiery pluck line. Paying attention to the small details, South adds in some extra essence with spacey instruments and pads to give this track that extra push. As the first track on the album, “Temps” offers a snapshot of what’s to follow and sets a firm precedent.
“Kino” takes us for a spin with its catchy pluck line and fuzzy percussion. Full of seamless transitions and groovy bass, this track has a solid progression which should resonate well with fans of progressive and tech house. During the break, we are hit with some nifty synth action that allows the track to breathe before coming back in. “Cassetta” is the next track to follow and is cut from the same cloth as “Temps” and “Kino”. The progressive vibes stay strong as we hit another track thats overflowing with bouncy percussion and tight bass. The tension rises as we hit the second break which opens up the track with more energy before the groove comes in again.”Piksi” is another progressive gem that features some unique instruments and large, powerful pads which give the track some extra ambience. Rolling into “Konda“, we come across one of the most meticulous tracks on the album. With phasing risers, crisp lasers, and lofty arpeggios, the track is just loaded with effects. A true groover, this track out of all is one of the most danceable. The mesmerizing main pluck line collides with clean pads that build up into a solid pattern before the percussion slides in again. Drawing many parallels between some of his darker tracks on “XV”, we wonder if Dirty South has found home with this innovative blend of tech and progressive house. Going against the grain from what we usually expect from tech house (which is notorious for repetition), none of the tracks on “darko” ever feel stagnant and we consistently have our attention caught by something new.
“Lava” is one of the most melodic records on the album. Supported by a lush piano line, we are blown away by shimmering pads and crisp plucks. “Rossa” contains glitchy percussion and effects that combine together with dogged bass lines to create a punchy record. The last track on the album is “Corda“, which contains clean sub bass and saucy hi -hats that mount into a solid groove. Whether you are into Dirty South’s vocal records or his more experimental work, “darko” is truly something. Perfect for those sweaty, late night affairs, every track on “darko” is proper ammunition.