Amongst those on the Amsterdam club scene, Tom Ruijg is highly regarded as a DJ and producer. With a production history that stretches back to the turn of the decade, and includes releases under his given name on Bangbang!, Karat, Hot Waves and Soweso, he’s no newcomer, either.
Skyfall is his first 12” for Voyage Direct, following a fine contribution to the First Mission compilation – alongside friend and sometime studio partner Efde – back in 2015. More pertinently, the EP marks the first time he’s used the Tracey moniker for a release.
The title track offers a near perfect balance between head-in-the-clouds melodiousness – delivered via cascading, new age influenced synthesiser motifs, starry electronics and crystalline lead lines – and serious dancefloor grunt. The beats are crunchy and distorted, with that distinctive swing that comes from vintage drumcomputers. As a result, “Skyfall” feels timeless, as if it was a pan-generational collaboration between Tracey, early Detroit futurists, and early ‘90s ambient techno producers.
There’s a similarly enduring quality about the equally impressive “Earthrise”. While the restless rhythm track is reflective of 21st century European techno, Tracey’s hi-hat hits recall classic Motor City productions. Throw in the kind of ghostly chords and TB-303 bass you’d expect to hear on vintage Larry Heard workouts – not to mention some complimentary electronic lead lines – and you’ve got another ageless composition on your hands.
On the flip, Tape Records co-founder Deniro – a producer famed for his analogue-rich take on techno – delivers two tasty interpretations of “Skyfall”. The ‘Mental Mix’ flips the original on its’ head, delivering a rugged, acid-fired box jam that replaces Ruijg’s cascading melodies with starry new electronics, and seemingly unstoppable waves of TB-303 tweakery.
The chiming, life-affirming melodies return on his Oude Remix, which smartly fixes them to a thrusting, energy-packed rhythm track full of scattergun fills and bassbin-bothering kick drums. It’s a fittingly sweaty end to a superb first Tracey outing on Voyage Direct.