It would be remiss to think of music as an art form always in verbatim the creation of something new. It can be as iterative in inception as creative in conception and its ultimate practice. It’s a trait the cornerstone of remix, bootleg and mashup culture worldwide that so infectiously finds its way into even original compositions as the success of such heavyweights as English dance heavyweight Jax Jones and his tastefully retro sampling techniques can attest. Fitting then that one of the 2020s most exciting revitalisations of a tired formula comes by herald of British label Sola and it’s head honcho Solardo himself, his platform this time shining a spotlight on duo Maur and their latest challenger ‘Set You Free’.
From the very first bar, it’s immediately evident Maur have no problem invoking a classic 90’s throwback vibe. Familiar implementations like instantly recognisable snare rolls of a Roland TR-909, filtered white-noise risers that dissipate across the stereo field and of course above all the inclusion of the iconic female lead vocals courtesy here of FABER that hallmarked the decade are the order of the day. A simple 4/4 drum track guides us through a refreshingly paced 6:36 minutes of well-timed peaks and valleys as different elements are introduced, elaborated and removed resulting in moments you can so effortlessly envision provoking those ‘hands in the air’ moments of both clubs and festivals alike.
What has been garnering attention is the omission of overdone compressed piano chords layered over a tired Korg M1’s ‘house patch’ a la Robin S.’s ‘Show Me Love’ in lieu of numerous modernisations, the obvious star of which being the rolling brass bass line that carries throughout. It serves in making ‘Set You Free’ not only memorable but relevant through a newfound element that lends dynamics sorely missed from this era of dance the first time ‘round. It’s evident in the way the synth-work here evolves as it is filtered up and down, shortened and elongated and ultimately juxtaposed against the fundamentally simple but effective backdrop of house percussion. What we are left with is an incredibly refreshing rhythm that gives ‘Set You Free’ a pulsating push-and-pull syncopation you feel the whole body down. Add the fact that as of writing the track has enjoyed week upon week of lavish top 10 spots across numerous social platforms such as Beatport as well as enjoying heavy support from the likes of Pete Tong and BBC Radio 1 and its clear staying power stands only as testament.
With ‘Set You Free’, Maur doesn’t aim to reinvent the wheel, but what they do perhaps even more so impressively is sell us flawlessly on their very own brand of something so recognisable you won’t notice, much less care. It’s a new take on the old, the new cherry in the cola, the a la carte menu item we first fell in love with – an instant classic. And much like all our favourites, who doesn’t crave a little comfort food?