It's been an incredibly productive year for the British producer, real name Michael Greene, having seen him collaborate (with Nick Höppner on Cin Cin), remix (Krankbrother's Dreamscape EP on their self-titled imprint; Audiojack's Spirit EP on Last Night On Earth), and do his own thing (his Reasons EP on his self-titled label; singles signed to Correspondent and Cocoon), before recently making his return to the much-loved and revered Running Back, with which he debuted Fairlight in 2015.
His latest EP titled Emulators picks up on the theme from which Fairlight started — that of geekily nodding to hardware such as the Fairlight CMI (Computer Musical Instrument) and now the E-MU II or Emulator is it is fondly known — and though very different works, both are exquisite sounding.
"Emu I" thrashes wildly from the most basic kick to the farthest flung modulating synth sound, but the beats remain tight and the melodic progression is controlled in both track arrangement and expression. "Emu II" repacked beast of similar qualities, though slightly more song-like from the get-go, roaming into clubbier territory quickly before the breakdown evolution leading to the drop will have your skin goosebump'ing before fist-pumping.
"Emu III" is a glorious synth tool around the 110bpm mark that refocuses attention with a blissed-out Balearic masterpiece. The season may well be coming to a close in Ibiza but if you live in sunny, coastal climes then this one's got your name on it. It's such a loose track that come next summer it will most likely still be rolling on, chilling everything around it the f**k out. "Emu III (Birdy Bonus Beats) does what it says on the tin. Percussion — seemingly from an entire room of drums — and bird atmospherics come together to form a sensory tonic of sound, no doubt ripe and ready for a certain style of DJ set, but also a useful tool for others able to loop and effect.
Closing this rich offering is "Emu IV", a track inherent of the theme but slower than its younger siblings, with a tough beat that's a little murky in the top end. The synths, however, are on point, moving fluidly atop a slightly acidic, rebounding bass pattern.
Running Back keep up their insanely impressive run of unabashed genre-crossing music with Fort Romeau's unique amalgam of disco-informed, trance-inducing house. A sound that will keep dance floors pumping and after parties popping until the new year that's for sure.
Emulators is out now on Running Back Records, so if you dig it, support it! You can buy your copy direct from the Running Back Bandcamp or all good online retailers.