REVIEW DJ Life ‘Retina EP’ [Craigie Knowes]

You might think that people who dig this label assume it’s run by someone called Craigie and wonder what he know(e)s, one thing you know(es) about this label is that it’s a provider of superb eclecticism across its artists and releases – you see a new 12″ and think ” What does Craigie Knowes this time?”. Well, here it goes. It’s DJ Life and he very definitely knows, or should that be knowes, the score. The Antipodean beat-maestro has showcased some absolute pearlers in recent years via R.A.N.D, Dansu or Echocentric Records to name just a few, so adding Craigie Knowes to the list makes a sweet match. 

The. EP-opener, Flouresence, takes one back to when the word ‘trance’ wasn’t considered an offence to music and was used more as a term for labels such as Platipus in the early-mid 90s, with the emphasis being on upbeat chunky vibes, which put you into something of a trance on the dancefloor, which Flouresence very definitely will do. Sitting somewhere between 90’s progressive and the aforementioned ‘trance’, it could have quite easily been released in 1992. 

The A2 cut, Hexed, follows on where Flourescence left off and takes things into even more of a progressive area, this could be an unearthed Underworld track from a recently discovered DAT, again harking back to the early 90s. The flanging riff which carries through the track is a real ear-worm, linking with the rolling percussion, this is a real floor-jam. 

The B-side opens up with Digi Maze (Confusion Mix), which has a hint of the 90s in there, this time with a prominent M1 bass style, but used in fine style, with little siren-type sounds leading into a wriggly Acid line which cheerily makes itself known around halfway through. Probably the strongest take on the EP, it’s a brilliantly executed club cut, taking influences from across the last three decades, but remaining totally ‘now’. 

Closing off the EP is the quick-paced and punchy Limestone, another bassy and percussive number, with floaty pad sounds which add something of a deeper feel, while the beats underneath rattle along like a progressive house train. Again, it tips its cap to the mid-late 90’s, with its chuggy vibe and popping bass style, another winner on what is an extremely strong release. 

Melbourne has someone extremely smart in DJ Life, this EP, Retina, will bring more fans to his door, no doubt about it.  

DJ Life’s Retina EP was released on Craigie Knowes on April 10th, 2022.

Words by Al Bradley

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