Prolific Belgian artist Manu Riga aka Adriaan Baussens delivers his stunning new debut album Surrounded, and after a while in the making we can say that this has been well worth the wait. 12 beautifully rich and deeply intimate tracks will lift you up and carry you along on a rollercoaster of emotions, as the title suggests you’ll be surrounded by a mixture of dark and beautiful moments, leaving you with plenty to think about. From First Steps through to Immortal Sins and Urge To Live, to the wonderfully chilled Forgotten, all the bases are covered in this one. On top of that, and exclusive to the album, Adriaan has created a deft transitional mix of tracks which includes special edits of tracks from the album that will both inspire and move. We spoke to Adriaan briefly regarding the album and we got the impression of just how much of himself he has put in. The last year was a tough one to say the least, but he battled through and produced the goods as he always does, and he also managed to churn out multiple remixes along the way. It’s with great pleasure that we present this album to you and we have no doubt you will find it to be an expertly crafted and emotionally charged piece of work.
The album intros with the exquisite First Steps which takes us on a surreal journey through a deeper curve in the Manu Riga sound. Swirling pads swell up against a backdrop of soft percussions as a strong voice comes through. A wonderfully deep droning bass fills the low end while an array of melodies float overhead. You get a sense of taking your first steps in life as the groove envelops your soul taking you deeper. A track that flourishes with expectations invoking deep thoughts, top notch.
Moments Of Sobriety is up next and tells the story of being on autopilot in life, having a sudden awareness, a realisation making you think of life around you and the important things. The track opens with a cool punchy kick and is surrounded by layering percussions that form into a solid rhythmic sequence. A wonderful sequence follows as a Turkish Oud plays out its rich melodic sound to the backdrop of some cool sweeps and FX. A fantastic bassline sits perched on the low end and moves effortlessly through this sea of melodies, driving the track forward. The break is a beautifully constructed kaleidoscope of sound which is joined by some stunning hair raising vocals that deliver a haunting groove.
Migrations represents a cycle of change in the Manu Riga journey as he took the huge step in moving countries which in itself can be quite a daunting experience. It also highlights milestones in his life which remain personal to him. The track opens with a nice punchy kick drum as various percussions start to creep in. A deep and probing bassline rears its head and creates a nice warm groove for the track to build on. Darker elements begin to show as the layers build and we soon find ourselves totally hooked on the sound. Wonderfully lush pads contrast brilliantly against sharper pads that mesmerize throughout. On the break we get drawn into a beautiful melodic sequence that would seem to have come straight out of a movie score complete with a stunning poem recited in sultry tones before we’re blasted ri