Swedish House Mafia – Until Now
The trio of Axwell, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso is no longer merely human, but a collective strand of energy that has the power to lift entire festivals or massive European and American stadiums toward unbridled euphoria. And although they may be riding off into the sunset on their final tour, they are leaving their fans with one last parting gift: Until Now.
In their signature stabby synth, euro-friendly vocal format, Swedish House Mafia’s Until Now is structured almost identically to their recent main stage sets. Although that house bounce may form the backbone, they opt for quick transitions and a consistent supply of bangers like multiple injections of Australian duo Knife Party.
This party trio kicks things off with the monstrous grinding bass-lines of their Daft Punk-esque own Greyhound; but this 22-track mix is not completely filled with SHM originals, the outfit instead chooses to propel their growing family of electro-misfits. It is unlikely that many of their mainstream-ish fans would go crate-digging for Nari & Milani’s Atom, but perhaps the track’s staccato bass line is a perfect segue into favourite Leave The World Behind, with SHM member Axwell taking on his teammates with Laidback Luke. At this point in the album, it almost stops feeling like a compilation. Antidote, which has already been floating around for nearly a year, mixes a spiralling synth wave with a wobbling bass line and quick-hitting hip hop vocal that leaves listeners stuck in an avalanche of sound, unaware which direction is up and which leads to eventual doom.
Following the nostalgic waves and subtle ivory strokes of when Dirty South and Those Usual Suspects meet SHM and Tinie Tempah on Walking Alone / Miami 2 Ibiza, rising star Thomas Gold’s heavy drum sounds are the focal point nearly halfway through the release. First with a caffeinated re-edit of Miike Snow’s The Wave and then with a crucial tie-in of his minimal Sing2Me. Swept so perfectly together as if you were getting a live set with all their favourite underground companions.
But before album takes on more commercial remixes, it’s time to bring in another escalating Australian in the scene – the unparamounted productions of Tommy Trash. With his remix of Steve Aoki’s Ladi Dadi and later his Reload with Sebastian Ingrosso- these two tracks hands down are the most essential tracks of the compilation, with both of them in their first :45 seconds inducing arguably the best fist-pumping drops composed in the past year.
The stripped down arrangements of Hardwell, Arty, Matisse & Sadko and Adrian Lux’s ThreeTriangles/Trio/Teenage Crime allows for the pure massiveness of its snarky, buzzing lead sound to penetrate through the mix, producing an unrelenting period of pure audio bliss. Followed by another Matisse & Sadko’s rework of Beating Of My Heart with the acapella sounds of The Temper Trap’s Sweet Disposition (insert goose-bump inducing effect) courtesy of the UK’s M-30x.
Beyond the newer releases like Don’t You Worry Child, the freshly cut collab between Angello and Third Party known as Lights and two Coldplay re-edits including Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall, which adds a thumping house beat while leaving the original’s blueprint intact. Another big remix here is Mark Knights’ remix of Florence and The Machine’s You’ve Got The Love with the one and only One. The record flips the script with the penultimate track, Knife Party’s testosterone-ravaged remix of SHM original Save The Word finishing off with a nice surprise that of Ferry Corsten’s Punk.
For Swedish House Mafia fans, Until Now is exactly what they wanted out of the trio. For house music purists, love the SHM or hate them, one thing is for certain: it serves as a nice bookend to America’s first great commercial dance music phase. While Until One served as an introduction to the group itself, Until Now can be seen as an introduction to contemporary dance music.