Going by the fittingly hazy name of Dream City, New York's C. Perez and London's S. Deelay create heavily processed takes on traditional techno and house that impress with their well thought-out pacing and development. Forward, their new release for the Blankstairs label, is full of reliable, functional tracks that, while not exactly outstanding or groundbreaking in any way, are nonetheless a nice example of international dance relations that the community can only be better for.
Things commence nicely with the confidently slow-burning "Down 2," which drops its bass line well after the two-minute mark, to pleasing effect. It's a tight, solid calling card for the duo and, like much of the release, presents a good mix of samples and original production, citing familiar sounds while skewing them towards the new. Followup track "Palms" is more ambitious but less focused, uniting two seemingly different musical ideas about halfway through in its own self-contained mix. "Hopeful Visions" follows, a solid seven minutes of pulsing synths and well-placed percussion that ebb and flow pleasantly enough but never really arrive anywhere.
Luckily, the title track snaps the listener back to attention, with an immediately likable bass line that subtly evolves throughout, and a driving rhythm that will satisfy the floor. It's a good way to end the core experience of Forward, leaving the listener with a memory of its stronger elements: a Max McFerren remix of "Hopeful Visions" is also included, and on the digital edition, a worthwhile alternate version of "Down 2," as well. (Blankstairs)