When it comes to free releases and Creative Commons music, there is an unwritten rule that you always have to go the extra mile to get the needed attention. Many in this sport tend to fail, but some of them succeed by making their music interesting, refreshing and attention-worthy. Even it has been in release just for two days, new/old album by Finnish group Praktika (Heba and Ripa) is one of thoose releases. At the first sight, after I saw a recommendation by a friend, I experienced this release as something special. Based on the available informations, Praktika’s album Playing The Presets was made in time period between ’97-’99 and it was scheduled to be released by Exogenic Records (to some of you known by hosting names such as Kiwa, Texas Faggot or Highpersonic Whomen, to name a few) in late 1999, but due to the loss of master tapes it was postphoned till this year and (based on their promo text), apparently, with the help of aliens and Johtoääni Studios files are recovered sometime in summer of 2016.

Playing The Presets comes with 8 tracks in classic Goa trance style with Suomi twist. I have to admit that I’m not an expert for this certain genre, but based on the release catalogue of Trance Bum Productions (label responsible for this release), it seems fitting and proper to give them a release slot and showcase some Goa music alongside with Suomi. So, let’s hear how does it actually sound. It kicks-off with Kierron Rajoilla track – a mid-tempo (139 BPM) Goa tune with really warm and analog vibe. At the first listen you can already feel that music comes from different era – drum patterns, swirling effects and subtile melodies are exchanging during the whole time while interesting vocals are appearing and leads you into dreamy scenario. It really brings nostalgia in best possible way and if I could guess, I would say it was made sometime around ’95 or even ’94 since it has that primitive (in absolutley postive way) structure, but hypnotic and goastatic. Truth to be told, I couldn’t figure the correct meaning of the track name, but it looks to me that is about certain cycles which makes sense.

Unlike the opening track, Hairahdus starts more agressively, with more accent on rhythm and basslines. Even there is no big difference in tempo, this one gives more energy and breaks are short ‘n sweet – perfect for dancefloor gymnastic enthusiasts. I have to admit it’s not my cup of tea that much, but it will be played around for sure. Rahat Pois! is probably the reason why you will fall in love with this album. It has everything that makes Goa music so wonderful – clever arrangement and development, sharp and wicked kicks, interesting and engaging effects playing during the whole time and recognizable lead melody. It’s not the best Goa trance track out there, but for sure back in the days it would end up in thoose ‘a must have Goa’ compilations such as Goa-Head or Pulse.

The moment when Goa element will become absent was expected and it happens on 4th track with interesting name – Donkey Kong. Oh, damn you nostalgia, it was such fun to play DK Country or Diddy’s Quest on SNES, I really miss thoose days, but this track actually offers something not-that much related to the game – a nice and relaxed downtempo/trip-hop fusion with some funky details and weird throat-singing in the background. It’s one of thoose tracks you would play at summer night at some bar with laid-back ambient and atmosphere. On the other hand, RooTest brings more Suomi type of sound and Praktika executes it flawlessly. Throughout the whole track something happens and it has that silly vibe, but in totally enjoyable way. Another highlight off the album is Tuskien Taival. Just like Rahat Pois! it gives plenty of Goa groove and showcases how bunch of hardware and gear can create so much noise that makes perfect sense. I never was one of the guys who puts gear ahead of ideas, but in cases like this, you just have to appriciate the skill and knowledge that has been put into making process of Tuskein Taival tune.

It seems this album only can get better and better and Fail Safe is a proof. It doesn’t offer anything revolutionary but it features really outstanding melodies and perhaps the most remarkable climax on this whole record. And super-groovy bassline. Last and final track Sea Of Mud starts with slow drumming spiced up with some oriental/ethnic melodies and speeches in background. While it slowly developes, you can feel it’s one of thoose closing downtempo tracks that we got used to in the past. Don’t expect anything spectacular, even it comes with nice electric guitar melodies towards the end.

Free download available at Ektoplazm.

Written by Richpa.

Rediscovering Praktika's lost album - Playing The Presets
Even it's not ground-breaking release, Praktika's 'Playing The Presets' certainly offers plenty exciting and interesting moments, properly executed idea by blending the classical Goa trance sound with playful Suomisaundi and of course - a well-deserved place among the best free releases published this year. Level of sound quality is more than good, making this release enjoyable to listen and I hope some of Goa trance DJ's will test few of the tracks on bigger PA's, since there is plenty of dancefloor-friendly tunes here. Artwork also fits very well with the music and it's just an icing on this (free) cake.
Music & idea85%
Sound & production79%
Artwork & visuals79%
  • Interesting combination of styles
  • Very good sound quality
  • Little bit shorter than expected
81%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (3 Votes)