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If ever there was a summer that needed something a little cooler channeling into it, well surely it’d be this one. That kind of salvation is close at hand, as July sees the Progressive wing of Solarstone’s Pure marque serve its second long-player.

Having helmed Volume 1, Orkidea yields the P.P. wheelhouse to another institution from the Progressive genre. Released on Solarstone’s Deepblue label in 2007, ‘Lifecycle’ immediately put Forerunners on the lips the scene’s heaviest-hitting DJs. Arizona’s Brenden LaBonte has scarcely broken his release stride since. Effortlessly delivering deep progressive majesty time after time, over half his career releases have seen the light on Solarstone’s labels, the last seven of which are all on Pure Progressive.

While two years might seem like a long interval between editions, Pure Progressive volumes are no mean feat and certainly no small undertaking. Involving both the creation of an artist album and a mix compilation, ‘PP2’ follows suit, delivering the best of both worlds to fans. Its first disc The Artist brings 8 new Brenden LaBonte productions and 2 new remixes to the fore. Disc 2’s The DJ meanwhile builds a 14-strong track complement into a formidable mix, perfectly echoing the Pure Progressive’s sound. Included amongst them is music from label regulars like Nick Stoynoff, qoob, Nick Silvestri, & Basil O’Glue, as well as a further two new Forerunners creations.

The Artist opens with the deeply drawn strings & slo-mo breaks of ‘Our Miracle’, before crossing over into 4/4 with the ebb & flow melodies of ‘Communicator’. A little further down the river you’ll find ‘Deliverance’ from Nugen (aka progressive trailblazer Emilie de Fouchécour), as Forerunners brilliantly Redux’s her 2003 classic. Continuing the disc’s midtempo throb, Brenden’s desk-fresh ‘Dreams For You’ adds more definition to the drive of the bass. ‘Hazel Eyes’ and the just-released ‘Sunreturn’ meanwhile start to open the gates to more prominent melodies and harmonies. As The Artist disc enters its closing stages, Forerunners rework Basil O’Glue’s 2018 Pure Progressive release ‘The Promise’, before Brenden signs off with magical ‘Lost In Our Years’

Of his approach to the composition and mixing of the album, Brenden explains: “When I listen to the music I wrote for this album, I remember what originally captured my soul when I got started in this industry. It is a pure expression of sounds and ideas without constraints or expectations. Each track tells a story and fits into a larger narrative, from the earlier breakbeats and atmospheric sounds to the higher energy club-infused percussion and melodies. I struggled seriously with some of the arms-race happening in trance and progressive over the years, the pursuit of louder more compressed supersaws and snare rolls, and this 2-disc volume is partially my statement in opposition that I began back in 2015 when I rediscovered the direction the Forerunners project was going to take. What better place than Pure Progressive to release such an album and compilation, a family of labels known for keeping the music we release down to earth and honest.”

Brenden’s The DJ disc sets sail with three tracks all hailing from Eastern Europe, as Alfoa’s ‘Headwaters’ ‘Amazonia’ from Dimuth K and East Café’s ‘When Chaos Ends’ collectively set the tone & pace to a measured cruise. The finely crafted drift of Waxman’s piano melodies on ‘Never The Same’ cede to allow Nick Stoynoff’s ‘Luck Pluck’ & ‘Gardens of Genesis’ by Partenaire to add more floor emphasis to the mix. As the disc crosses its meridian, Forerunners teams up with Mike Isai for the bassily grooving raincry of Arrakis’ and the Northern Exposure-esque ‘Escape’, courtesy of ManIsMetaphor. Bringing the release’s second disc to its coolly epic culmination are the elegantly warped synths of Nick Silvestri’s ‘Break of Dawn’ and the unforgettable vocals of Forerunners’ forthcoming ‘Hymn’.
Pure Progressive 2 mixed by Forerunners will be out on July 29th 2022 via Black Hole Recordings!
Get your copy here:
Tracklist “Pure Progressive 2”:
Mix 1 – The Artist
01. Forerunners – Our Miracles
02. Forerunners – Communicator
03. Forerunners – Night Symmetry
04. Nugen – Deliverance (Forerunners Remix Redux)
05. Forerunners – Dreams for You
06. Forerunners – Hazel Eyes
07. Forerunners – Sunreturn
08. Forerunners – Flood of Memories
09. Basil O’Glue – The Promise (Forerunners Remix)
10. Forerunners – Lost in Our Years
Mix 2 – The DJ
01. Alfoa – Headwaters
02. Dimuth K – Amazonia
03. East Café – When Chaos Ends
04. Waxman – Never the Same
05. Nick Stoynoff – Luck Pluck
06. Yuriy from Russia & FLERIN – Avalokite
07. Partenaire – Gardens of Genesis
08. EL1AX – Sculpture Park
09. Forerunners & Mike Isai – Arrakis
10. qoob – The Four Stages of Man
11. ManIsMetaphor – Escape
12. Nick Silvestri – Break of Dawn
13. Tech D – Fixity
14. Forerunners – Hymn