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by Cheat Codes & Kris Kross Amsterdam

This is a very slick and hi-fi EDM production, and would make a good reference track for anyone trying to gain a foothold in this kind of style. The kick is beautifully solid and well controlled without any overly aggressive HF spike; the bass is full and rich, but with enough LMF components to guarantee decent small-speaker compatibility; the rest of the synths and sound effects complement each other so that the mix clarity remains good even when the texture is at its busiest; and the vocal production not only nails that glistening breathiness that’s so much a trademark of many EDM styles, but also varies the vocal arrangement enough to keep the interest going. In fact, my only slight concern is that the lowest frequencies of the bass synth don’t seem that stable in mono, which isn’t such a good idea from the perspective of mix translation.

In addition, though, I like a lot of the sound design here, both in the main synth sounds and the transition effects — the latter always critical to music like this. One example: the opening chords with their slow-attack filter modulation. Not only do they have a thoroughly satisfyingly richness in the mid-range when heard in isolation, but once the beat arrives their slow attack reduces masking effects on other on-beat upper-spectrum components in the mix. It’s easy to get into the habit of thinking that combatting frequency masking is primarily a question of using EQ, but there’s a lot you can do just by offsetting conflicting arrangement elements in time, especially in electronic music where a simple tweak in the programming can make all the difference.