• Arty ‘Glorious’: A Track-by-Track Review

    Russian progressive house don Arty makes his artist album debut with the imaginative Glorious, released via Insomniac Records, the recently launched imprint from Insomniac in partnership with revered label Interscope Records. An album two years in the making, it bears a significant awareness for Arty: You never get a second chance to make your first pop/mainstream impression. And what an impression it is. Dipping his creative brush into sounds as diverse as ‘70s pop, traditional big-room house, and 2015-era trap, he presents an album where no two tracks sound the same. Instead, they paint a picture in full of a man-as-artist who aims to exceed the sum of his very diverse parts.

    SEE ALSO: On the Record: Insomniac’s New Label Hits the Ground Running with a Full-Length Release by Arty

    “Shadow”

    Blissful alt-pop vocals slide into a comfortable yet booming build and cascading breaks against a bubbling and insistent synth to make Glorious opener “Shadow” feel unique, but somehow still natural in the progressive house genre. For those unfamiliar with what makes Arty a production star on the rise, it’s all right here. There’s an awareness of direction, an ease in creation, and an ability to discover an uncharted route in an otherwise overcrowded lane.

     

    “Glorious” ft. Blondfire

    Guitar licks and a glistening pop vocal dominate the mix, which remains airy enough to allow the production to feel like it’s doing everything and nothing, all at once. Kicks slide into the mix, unfettered by any other part of the production, and the track excels in successfully blurring the line between Top 40, vocal-driven pop and dancefloor-ready jam. As the album’s title track, expect a ton of remixes of this cut; given how pristine the mixing and mastering is, all of them should sound amazing to different degrees.

     

    “Braver Love” ft. Conrad Sewell

    Though not the intention, Elton John-style organs and a brassy female vocal recall John’s duet with Kiki Dee on their 1976 version of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” Similarly, “Braver Love” is not necessarily a dance single, but more so a great song that can be danced to. Banging big-room kicks and heavy filtering on the piano melody amplify the track’s modern yet timeless feel. A giant peak-hour jam, it’s worthy of as many rinses as possible.

     

    “Up All Night” ft. Angel Taylor

    Fanciful songwriting and booming vocals punctuate a production that has a locomotive feel. “Up All Night” is majestic and does all sorts of amazing things, the filtered synths shooting through the bottom end at the three-minute mark, serving as a focal point. The vocal performance is a highlight, too, and because of its energy, the potential for a trance remix—allowing vocal and track to commingle—is high.

     

    “Stronger” ft. Ray Dalton

    The cracks in Ray Dalton’s vocal are the kind of thing that are usually fixed in post-production, but they give “Stronger” the color to separate it from so many other big-room house productions featuring a booming male vocal of late. The not-so-vocal sections of the track feature the zipping, house-style funk familiar to Avicii circa his “My Feelings for You” era—a club-ready sound that works in larger spaces sorely missing from dance right now.

     

    “Inertia”

    Dub-added techno is hot in the streets if you listened to the Chemical BrothersBorn in the Echoes album single “EML Ritual.” “Inertia” is a certain dancefloor exciter, and the way the breaks snap against the bassline adds to the track’s overall feel. Slide whistle samples, warping synths, and the eventual inclusion of a proper techno break just make this production overwhelming in the best possible manner. This is a 4am anthem somehow shoehorned onto an album of a big-room heavyweight, and it might be the best-produced track of the lot.

     

    “Closer to You” ft. Clarence Coffee Jr.

    The minor key squelches all over the synths in this track don’t diminish the feels of Daft Punk’s “Da Funk” in this one. The vocals here are an added touch, separating Arty’s production from its clear progenitor. Ideally, there’s a music executive somewhere that would see to it that Arty and, say, Justice would make something happen together. With rumors that the legendary Ed Banger electro band is back in the studio, anything could be possible.