Eric Prydz’s ‘Opus’ cements his legendary status [Review]
Eric Prydz doesn’t deal in subtleties. Rather, every move he makes is a grand gesture, building towards a larger vision at stake. The latest piece of the Swedish producer’s story is arguably his most important offering yet: his debut artist album. For an artist nearly twenty years into his career, it’s a seemingly odd circumstance — but then again, Prydz has never been one to conform to the beaten path. Opus, as the album title goes, is double-disc release, containing 19 original songs from Prydz. The tracklist is a mixture of old staples, elusive IDs, and freshly arranged new material. It’s an album that’s been ten years in the making, with some of the ideas spawning back over a decade. While the Swedish veteran formerly released his 3-disc series Eric Prydz Presents Pryda in 2012, Opus marks his first-ever album under his personal namesake.
The LP begins with one of Prydz’s most coveted tracks of all: “Liam.” The single, formerly known as a Pryda original, is notable for serving as the opening to Prydz’s 2013 Essential Mix, which went on to win Essential Mix of the Year. The track’s metallic arp and string progression are just as alluring this time around, serving as a fantastic introduction to Opus. “Mija” is another fan-favorite, first arriving on Pryda 028 in 2014. The track has been re-scored with a beautiful, cinematic breakdown, making it easily one of the standout tracks from the album. Lastly, “Every Day,” Prydz’s iconic crossover smash from 2012 is finally seeing a formal release after being pulled down from streaming catalogues and digital distributors in 2014 for unknown issues.
The best part of Opus, of course, is the plethora of brand new Prydz songs. While some of them are long-awaited secret weapons from his live sets, others are just seeing the light of day for the first time. “Moody Mondays” is one such example. The track is an homage to seminal ‘80s New Wave acts like New Order and Depeche Mode. Aside from being a beautiful tribute, it’s a potent new offering in its own right with its big sawtooth bassline and nostalgic vocal on top. “Oddity” has already become a favorite among the newer material. It’s the longest cut on the album next to “Opus,” and a deeper, more cerebral production — the kind that effortlessly sucks one away into contemplative musing across its 8-minute span. “Trubble” is another clear standout. With a nod to Prydz’s harder, techno creations as Cirez D, it’s easily the darkest offering on the album. “Sunset at Cafe Mambo” is Prydz’s ode to Ibiza, showcasing six-and-a-half minutes of beatless beauty. “Breathe,” his collaboration with Rob Swire, is likely the album’s most palatable crossover cut, destined for commercial success with its seamless melodic development and anthemic vocal hook. Finally, songs like “Som Sas” and “Floj” help round out the tracklist, bringing some long-awaited live IDs out of the darkness.
All in all, Opus is a timeless debut. With a mix of old, new, and unreleased offerings, it’s the perfect sampler of Prydz’s storied body of work. While it’s not a ground-breaking release in any sense, it didn’t need to be. Rather, it’s a studio masterclass, showcasing the lifelong work of one of the best producers in the game. Die-hards may lament the inclusion of popular singles like “Liberate” and “Generate,” but it would be disingenuous to ignore two of his most successful tracks to date on his debut artist offering. With 19 tracks spanning the gamut of his styles, Opus is the quintessential artist album from one of reigning kings of progressive house. Must Listens: “Oddity,” “Trubble,” “Moody Mondays” Purchase: iTunes