7 Skies – ZAO

• 7 Skies returns on Anjunabeats
• Distinct choices of sounds
• Pensive breakdown, the star of the show

Take this debatable topic with a pinch of salt or not, but comebacks are mostly disappointing in music industry. Sure, some are mentionable and downright redeemable acts of creation, yet most tend to leave with mixed feelings or disappointment. Last year urged many musicians to explore their roots, a memorable one being Tiesto’s dabbling (yes, I wouldn’t term it proper return) to melodic domains of Trance and Progressive, after what seemed a forever time filled with purists throwing accusations on the veteran for abandoning his breakthrough style for greener pastures (quite literally) or just loyal fans of the past decades constantly citing nostalgia under comment sections of the newer records. Anyways, my point being, going back to square one can be totally out of the comfort zone and 7 Skies has done so adeptly. His latest offering “ZAO” came out last week on the reputed Anjunabeats.

How long has it been? Seven or eight trips around the sun since 7 Skies last released a production pertaining to the hypnagogic style? I did not follow earlier phase of his talented career back then, but later found out about his particular début in Anjunabeats. Nowadays the Italian denizen has made his mark on the mainstream dance music with the likes of Musical Freedom, displaying his prowess of sound-design abilities in House and club-suited styles. Previous year alone, “My Frequency” (with Tiesto and RebMoe) earned a heavy recognition as being a distinctive Electro-Bass House single, further adding to his versatility as a producer. Many had asked on whether he had any plans for retracing his steps to the emotional soundscapes, and finally a surprise announcement confirmed it in the preceding month.

On a retrospect, “Caffeine” happens to be one such remarkable gem from him, surmising best the peak-time structure Above & Beyond have popularized. The British heavyweight have strongly put forward the sharper, modernistic incarnation of Trance: dwelling with fast-paced bassline and dreamy mid-segments which have gracefully aged in the contemporary scene. Today’s subject continues on the same note, accepting this tried-and-tested formula with full force. Even better, 7 Skies’ idiosyncratic synth sound-engineering renders the experience unique: separating from the earlier works with distinction of greater creativity. Rapid riffs of low-end intro section fades into a schematic of pluck-synths and other atmospheric aids. A wailing vintage lead (which I somehow wished stayed more in the backdrop) chimes in now and then, furthering the nuance. And what Trance record would be complete without the thoughtful piano? Expected sentiments are met with an alluring response, albeit the following drop section brings in both concerns and praise.

Closing the show is the final climax, which features a juxtaposition of aggressiveness and the glamour from the breakdown. First round, a jagged and rough low-end grasps your ear, striking as a “in your face” component. Great, a contrasting perspective put neatly into action, working as this hulking monolith of a component advancing the dynamics. Then comes the main melody in its usual attire of washed super-saws, but as two polarizing things would not merge entirely, this version of the drop demonstrates that. Now, this is an experience I term in my own words, and others are free to disagree. Overall, this shortcoming does feel a bit hindering, but not deal-breaking.

“ZAO” addresses the fact that its creator hasn’t lost the edge that granted him the reputation in the first place, and hence this promising re-entrée. There is a solid two minutes of euphoric vibes stashed in midst of the track, and diehard fans of this spectrum surely would not be left with displeasure after a listen.

You can listen to “TAO” here:

Anjunabeats · 7 SKIES – ZAO