With the final Negative Gain Productions release of the year, Philadelphia’s GENCAB has a winner on its hands. Altar of Progress has all the makings of a club DJ staple: a catchy, well-produced banger with lush keyboard melodies. The lyrics have that certain singalong quality that makes a song memorable, although the vocals are buried so deep in the mix of single version (from the forthcoming GENCAB album, Thoughts Beyond Words), I almost couldn’t make them out at first.
As I type this I’m on my third listen. The sound is so layered that I make out new things each time I listen. There’s a lot going on here. And the tempo changes break up the song nicely. It never stays in one place long enough to get tedious. I especially love the warm synth tone during the breakdowns.
And if that weren’t sexy enough, Aesthetic Perfection provides a remix that’s so hard-hitting, it’s easy to imagine a dancefloor full of rivetheads stomping away blissfully to the beat. It’s more straightforward than the single version, but don’t confuse straightforward with pedestrian. The keyboard lushness is stripped away in favor of rhythmic loops, a driving bass thump and a clever interplay of vocal effects.
If Altar Of Progress isn’t getting played by DJs looking to pump up the club with a new sound, it would be a criminal oversight.