The Light Fantastic
The Light Fantastic is a dancefloor-oriented club album with a range of influences like deep house, vintage synthesizers, classic boogie, disco, Chicago jack, acid house, and even a dash of full-throttle rave revivalism. There are many ways to move forward as an artist. You can reinvent yourself, keep track of fashions, or try bold new things. Tom Trago has spent the best part of 10 years pushing his sound in impressive new directions. Yet on this album, the well-regarded Amsterdam-based producer has done things slightly differently. This time round, his influences come from much closer to home, and he has admitted to being inspired by the dancefloor-focused style with which he made his name. Trago is an old hand at this kind of thing. Back in 2009, his debut album, Voyage Direct (RH 025CD), impressed with its warm, disco-centric blends of full-throttle deep house and boogie-influenced synthesizer funk. He cast his net wider on 2011's Iris (RH 114CD/LP), choosing to work with a wide variety of international collaborators on an album that laid bare his myriad of musical influences. On The Light Fantastic, he's decided to "step back to move forwards" with a warm, involving set that puts the simple pleasures of the best dancefloor moments at its heart. "I tried to go a bit back towards the style I was doing on Voyage Direct, to dancefloor beats with deeper impact," Trago admits. "I was trying to make tracks that work on the dancefloor, but also move your heart." There are many collaborations on The Light Fantastic, but listen out for contributions from Steffi, Ben Westbeech, "studio neighbor" San Proper, Makam, vocalist Holly Wood and, most surprisingly, a local club owner who just happened to swing by the studio. "Using my friends was a big part of the process," Trago admits. "One of the points of the album was using people who were close to home, part of the family almost." It's an approach that definitely paid dividends. Certainly, this celebration of Amsterdam's blossoming electronic music scene adds a little extra frisson of excitement to The Light Fantastic's impressive vibrancy.