Recognize (Dance Mix 2021) – Martin O Kilmer (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

One of the failings in dance music, or at least an area where it could do better, is that many of the genre’s creators are happy to sacrifice melody for the beat. Yes, I know that dance is all about the beat, that it is those almost tribalistic rhythms, those hypnotic percussive grooves which are king when it comes to filling the dance floor. But surely you don’t have to choose one over the other. Just because you are trying to build the most fantastic rhythms, the most seductive beat patterns, the most euphoric and enticing grooves, doesn’t mean that the track can’t have a melody, a riff or a hook.

And that is something that Martin O Kilmer proves perfectly on his latest release Recognize. Right from the start, a piano riff helps drive the beat along in the form of a short, sharp and shockingly good riff. It is simple, effective, addictive…the best things always are. And as it sits there in the centre of the song, it acts as the perfect bridge between thumping drums and street-wise vocals, between bottom end drive and the sweeter sonics and vocal trip of the musical top line.

It makes a real difference and sets Recognize apart from the average speed over substance, motion over melody dance floor track of today’s cool but slightly conformist, clubland sound. The piano line grounds it, gives the track a heart, a soul even.

One of the great things about Martin O Kilmer‘s music in general and this track, in particular, is that it takes elements from across scenes and sounds and styles, from 70’s disco, 80’s mainstream pop, 90’s dance music and 21st-century electronica and uses those wide-ranging influences to forge music that is both familiar and infectious yet unique and forward-thinking.

It mixes conversational, sultry vocals, skittering beats and weaves of synth textures to create a sound that ebbs and flows between euphoric dance grooves and subdued, alternative electronica. And, through these tones and textures drives that distinctive piano sound to both anchor all the layers together but also to tether the tune to the dancefloor, keeping it real and accessible.

Martin O Kilmer‘s music acknowledges the past whilst building new sonic futures, it wanders the underground pathways of the alternative dance scene whilst appealing to the more discerning tastes of everyone from the mainstream pop picker to the most progressive and forward-thinking dance pioneer. And the real charm of Recognize is that it does all of this through only the most spacious and selective sonic elements. It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it. Never was that more true than here.

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