Running ft. Jinadu
This time last year I was traveling to Paris on the Eurostar with Grum’s ABGT300 set playing on my phone. With his album on the horizon, many fans held their breath waiting for the release of Grum’s Deep State a mere month after Above & Beyond’s big showpiece in Hong Kong. Only, the release date came and went, leaving may fans left in the dark over what happened and why it didn’t release on time. Fast forward 12 months after a myriad of rumoured legal issues and whispers, Deep State finally gets an official release. But was the wait worth it?
Deep State is a heady cocktail of deep house and trance, one that mixes the unique Grum sound with some surprises along the way, most that work perfectly and a few that don’t. The album itself begins with a beautiful introduction before diving into the moody, haunting vocals of Natalie Shay with Stay. This is followed up with one of the best tracks on the album, Lose Control. The use of vocals harmoniously blend with the rising synth and bass here to create one heck of a track that’s sure to rise to become one of 2019’s best tracks. Following hot on its heel is Tomorrow, rounding out this trio of heavy-hitters very early on. As far as album openers go, Grum’s gets off to a fantastic start.
The rest of the album does a pretty good job attempting to emulate this, with The Ascent coming close to achieving that early-album euphoria. Having said that, Home and Running are arguably the weakest tracks on the album, with Home in particular using heavy effects on the vocals that make it difficult to understand the lyrics. By contrast, Running’s homage to Grum’s pre-Anjuna days stands out for the wrong reasons too, with a slightly inconsistent tone next to the moody, progressive tracks on offer here. All of this builds up a suitably dramatic crescendo though, with the upbeat, hypnotic vocals of Natalie Shay returning, and given the chance to show off her vocal range during Afterglow.
If I’m nitpicking I would have liked Deep State to have released with a continuous mix version too. For me, Grum has always been an artist that revels in the musical journey during some of his longer sets, and it’s partly the reason Worldwide 07 worked as well as it did when it dropped in 2017. Having said that, each track is long enough to sink into the vibes the album does so well to achieve, making it easy to look past this.
With all of this in mind, was Deep State worth the wait? Absolutely. The album is chock full of amazing progressive trance that really does well to show off the prowess of this talented Scottish producer and even during the weaker songs, there’s a tight emphasis on mixing to allow everything to feel very polished and refined. Although Deep State never quite reaches the same state of mind late on, Grum’s album offers up a wonderful hour of hypnotically progressive music nonetheless and is a must-buy for anyone looking for another impressive trance album.