Nuage: Wild
Project: Mooncircle

Dimitry Kuzmin always bring an inordinately high level of craft to his Nuage productions, and Wild is no exception. Admittedly the title is a bit of a misnomer: in every one of its tracks, the St. Petersburg, Russia-based electronic producer's controlling hand is evident, and as a result the material is not really wild in any untamed sense of the word. It is, however, wide-screen and flush with radiant colour, and its sound design is so sophisticated, one could be easily persuaded into believing Kuzmin graduated summa cum laude from the Moscow Conservatory with an advanced degree in music production.

Wild is so polished, in fact, it comes as no surprise that he spent a full year completing it; it's also interesting that, while the early material he produced under the Nuage alias was labeled drum'n'bass, the genre's largely absent on Wild, though it does surface during “Rivers Reverse.” That's a deliberate move on Kuzmin's part, reflecting as it does his desire to incorporate a broader range of styles into his music, and consequently the thirteen pieces on Wild are rooted in deep house and electronica as much as anything else.

There's a strong sense of structure, plan, and sequence to the set, with the vibrant intro “Occur” giving way to fully developed productions and an interlude (the pulsating, synthesizer-heavy “In Between”), and Kuzmin brings an artfulness to the material that sets him apart from his contemporaries. An early standout, “Every PPL” blends cut-up vocal fragments into a funky workout whose deep house groove is as delicious as the arrangement itself. Elements drop in and out of the mix as Kuzmin unerringly shapes the material into a blissed-out, six-minute panorama of controlled ecstasy. “Arrival” becomes an exercise in Gestalt sound design when its hushed vocal accents, bass pulses, and percussive elements coalesce into a surging four-minute setting whose whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.

In remarkable productions such as “Secret Jungle,” “Catch Light,” and “Thunderine,” Kuzmin layers and sequences elements with consummate skill and an unerring ear for detail. But no matter how sophisticated Wild gets, his breezily swinging tracks never lose sight of their fundamental connection to dance music, as shown by representative body-movers such as “Canvas” and “Habitat.”

April 2017