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Cosmin TRG – A Universal Crush review

Looking back at the still fledgling but truly impressive history of Rush Hour’s Direct Current series, it’s possible to chart a figurative inspirational fault line that has strengthened with each release. There’s been a clear progression in sound demonstrated by the series’ main protagonists Falty DL and Cosmin TRG in addition to startling contributions from newcomers Policy and BNJMN.

The unexpected delights of the latter’s full length album Plastic World – an album rich in brilliant Utopian techno futurism – lays the foundations of expectation for this release from Cosmin TRG and true to form the Romanian steps up for his third outing on the series and delivers perhaps his best work to date.

A Universal Crush – formed of four tracks spread luxuriously across two harlequin themed twelve inches – is the starkest example yet of the Romanian’s continual development from his dubstep roots towards a fluid house and techno sound. Of course there are plenty of artists currently moving in a similar direction, the most recent example being the Joy O release on Hotflush. Whilst “Wade In” is an accomplished techno production which has even caught the ear of Villalobos, it’s somewhat lacking in that sonic personality to distinguish it from the continual swathe of techno releases.

Crucially, Cosmin TRG’s distinct style is apparent from the moment the title track arises from the ether – listening to the glitchy melancholia coated rhythmic twists that run through “A Universal Crush” the mind remains blank when scouring for obvious comparisons, be it contemporary or historical. Similarly “Negligee” sounds wholly unique, delivering six minutes of warped analogue sex – excellently twisting itself inside out amidst the euphoric chords that drive the track forward.

Opening proceedings on the second, white slab of vinyl “Magnetic Bodies” is perhaps the one instance where TRG plays it straight – delivering into a soaring deep house thump that’s still sprinkled with enough ingenuity to make it stand out. Special mention is reserved for the final track “Sirop” – perhaps the finest six minutes here – with the dizzyingly brilliant rhythms and sweat-addled thumping joy worthy of far more than mere verbs.

Tony Poland