Tom Trago – ‘Rise Up/Sky High’ (Rush Hour)

Amsterdam’s Rush Hour label has been at the forefront of abstract house sounds for a while now. Consistent in the quality of its releases and picking up some interesting talent along the way (Reclooses ‘Magic’ was one of their most successful cuts this year). Rush Hour is leading an army of new and exciting production talent, notably local boy and regular to the label, Tom Trago, who was exposed to the masses via his collaborative efforts with Night Slugs boss Bok Bok, with the mighty ‘Vector’ ambushing its way into soundsystems across Europe last year.

’Rise Up’ his newest single and collaboration with Amsterdam-based dj Cinnaman, doesn’t have quite the same gumption as the former. It begins well, with a knockout bassline appearing from beneath a wave of restless claps and delicate synths, but the track is pretty much all build and drop, an idea that seems to tire itself out before it’s even halfway through, which is already long enough considering its seven-minute entirety. But barring the repetitive angle on this track, Trago does make an example of how to manipulate a melodic structure well, but keeping that theme interesting isn’t beyond his ability, so the absence of that variation is a shame.

A vocal dub and demo mix of ‘Sky High’ featuring San Proper fare better, although the vocal in the former doesn’t quite assert itself enough to emphasize the fantastic funk-driven bassline lying dormant between conflicting bass drums and syncopated claps. The demo mix of ‘Sky High’ changes things up a little, but I feel the best of Tom Trago is yet to come.

Lucinda Runham