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Ilija Rudman – The Reveal review

Ilija Rudman has always been something of an open book. Ever since making his debut on his own Red Music imprint in 2003, the Croatian has always been quite clear about his influences. Listen to any of his numerous singles and remixes, and his passion for early 80s synth disco, vintage electro, Balearica and electro-funk has shone through.

It’s little surprise that his debut album, The Reveal, further explores these passions. This time, though, there’s an authenticity often lacking from his previous productions. His early singles in particular were hampered by the digital sheen of noughties nu-disco, and he’s never quite managed to consistently produce music that sounds like the records he loves so much.

This time round, he’s nailed that sound – and it’s all thanks to the use of all manner of vintage synthesizers and drum machines. The result is a set that just bristles with original 80s flavour. It’s a huge step forward. Musically, The Reveal offers little in the way of surprises for seasoned Rudman watchers, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad set. It’s actually his strongest body of work yet.

Alongside his usual tributes to familiar favourites (“Prison Of Passions”, for example, leans heavily on Aleem’s “Get Loose”), Rudman explores “Nightdubbing” style electrofunk dubs (“Show Me The Magic”), Bobby O-esque freestyle disco (“Congo Diamonds”), classic P Funk (“Twenty Questions”) and slick, soul-flecked mid 80s piano jams (“Romance Warrior”). It’s the fusion of quiet exploration, vintage sounds and bright, melodic hooks (one of Rudman’s traditional strengths) that makes The Reveal such a great listen. And that’s exactly the point; this is a proper, old-fashioned album that sounds best listened to from start to finish, in sequence. iPod shufflers take note.

Matt Anniss