Graydient Collective concoct kaleidoscopic sophomore issue, ‘Colors Vol. 2’ [Review]
Conceived by rising progressive house act Julian Gray, the multi-arts project Graydient Collective debuted in 2019 to shimmering reception, topping the Beatport electro house and psy-trance charts. As embodied by its name, the collective and its overarching vision aim to showcase a curated palette of electronic colors and associated creative expressions through the all-in-one Colors series—a collaboration involving visual artists, writers, and musicians. Now, Graydient Collective returns compelling as ever with their second installment.
Boasting returnees like GHOST DATA, BlindSpider, and APER7URE, Colors Vol. 2 ushers in inaugural appearances from Matt Lange, ASHE, Monstergetdown, and more. Much like its predecessor, the newest 16-track compilation basks in a breadth of dark nature that spans multi-genre territories, although not devoid of the occasional progressive light.
Vol. 2 kicks off with Gray and BlindSpider’s progressive house and techno cross-over chameleon, “Likely Los Angeles,” setting up a foreboding tone with chamber-resounding synths and nefarious arpeggiators. The tension continues into Lange and Zach Meyer’s collaboration, “Something Freshy,” as melancholic sonics collapse in-and-out of the tight-knit production, ultimately ceasing to culminate in release. The compilation takes a lighter turn at Rhett’s remix of Monstergetdown’s, “It Happens But Things Change,” reworking the original—which also appears as the album closer—with an airy vocal chop and percussive emphasis.
From there on out, the stylistic output widens as tracks delve into explorations of ambient, electro, and experimental, championing the uplifting, club-ready, and surreal. ASHE’s “Still Dreaming” provides a tranquil touchpoint, its deep house construction purified with oceanic drums and ethereal chords, before diving into the wonky mix-ins of progressive cut, 80M’s “Hypercube.” However, the apex is undoubtedly GHOST DATA’s “Voice of Eternity.” Uncharted as the brightest and lengthiest piece, the track personifies progression into a cinematic universe, wielding celestial chorals as weapons of enchantment and cascades of syncopated synths as building blocks of peak tension—its shattering climax reaping incisive electro stabs and lightning-esque riffs.
“Memento” follows as the sole vocal-centric release, kindled with immense vibrations and harmonic piano arrangements. The track finds Dex Machina crafting an astute energy through masterful builds and manipulation of sound textures. Progressive deviations continues to shine in the latter half of the compilation: Porth Nole interlaces downtempo with chunky bass lines on “I Understand,” Tydrous delivers trance-inspired revitalization on “Meladon,” and Cube and NoVinum conduct critter-like sensory in the dungeon audio-verse of “Reprise.”
The record alternatively clocks in a gratifying range of techno numbers, from dusky warehouse cuts to sinister-boding hitters. Carrying a strong sense of underground learnings, the selection never diverges too far from its core understanding, yet enjoys a tasteful nuance of varying degrees. BlindSpider executes unrelenting pace in “Silk,” crafting hypnotism through gossamer synths and brisk drum programming. DeFacto employs bass-heavy structures and sci-fi soundscapes in the minimalistic, “The Fact of Fiction.” APER7URE plays with eerie noise in subtle horror-inducing layers and unwavering momentum in “Lost Transmission.” Meanwhile, 28mm and LUNR inject dark techno embellishments into house tune, “Hz.”
Ultimately, every pick on Colors Vol. 2 holds steadfast in its own individualism while finding common habitat with its peers. Strewn with complexity and introspection, the track list welcomes both outliers and the mainstream, expertly tied together by their rampant dedication to sound. While listeners may dive deeper to identify preferred tracks, no questionable doubt remains of the production value on the record. Entwined with magnetic strains of kaleidoscopic artistry, Graydient Collective’s sophomore showcase primes the project for an electronic takeover across hybrid vessels of progressive, trance, and techno.
Colors Vol. 2 is out now via Graydient Collective. Stream below.
Featured image: Emily Smith/@peelingsart