‘Mindfulness’, the new album from Max Cue, is well-named. Watchful and attentive are characteristics high on the agenda of Antwerp’s Andy Verschaeren, letting loose a set of deep house and techno whose perpetual breeze and clear-mindedness is sourced from uncluttered, neatly layered and direct production.
Five years on from the chunkier techno/tech house push of ‘Define Life’, and having collected recognition from Laurent Garnier, Hernan Cattaneo, Paul Oakenfold and Sasha, Cue’s one-time spinning of darker beats are re-circulated here, married to his long-time association with all things trance and techno. So for all the album’s widescreen lucidity, possessing an ease of acceleration that allows him to cruise with edge-smoothing energy, ‘Mindfulness’ also comes tinged with more pointed elements of distrust and sorrow.
The longing strings of the title track display Verschaeren’s ever present balance of elegance, ambience and urgency, and ‘Emptiness’ adheres to traditional mind, body and soul theory with its simple but emotionally connected chord changes, backed by trance illumination to make hairs stand to attention. ‘Feuerzeug’ and ‘Violated’ on the other hand toughen up with steelier attitude blotting and penetrating the views from space, just to keep you on your toes should your head be straining to stay above the clouds.
With an early electro influence calculatedly making its presence felt on ‘Triangle’ and promoting Cue as a formulator of strange new worlds, ‘Mindfulness’ consistently lays down an atmospheric comfort that can just easily go the other way and have you start biting your fingernails. See the warm fronts of ‘Isolation’ transform into acid-attacked intensity, akin to the album polishing its halo before getting its feet dirty. Don’t worry though, it’s ‘Nothing Personal’, the album’s bristling first single which features remixes from Groj and Luis Junior.
The symbols of sensory elevation, with the likes of ‘Patience’ bringing to mind time lapse videos of clouds and traffic flying past in an invigorating swirl, allow ‘Mindfulness’ to stream from speakers from the comfort of your home while attacking the open air of the Balearics.
01. Mindfulness Intro
03. Lights Out
07. Nothing Personal
11. Violated Outro
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