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02/20 Asten & Andrew Benson - When Toys Come Alive

Russian pair, Andrew Benson and Asten are a brand new collaborative creation, coalescing together to form a formidable duo with their "When Toys Come Alive" EP, a welcome addition to the Particles artist portfolio. Individually, both have carved out considerable reputations for themselves and their paths have run parallel since the their first commercial work in 2010.

Andrey Malookov began work under his Andrew Benson guise with the wonderfully melodious, "Before Glow" EP for Royal Sapien's Olaris imprint. Since then, he hasn't looked back with a gamut of releases on Proton family labels such as Balkan Connection, Nueva and Round Triangle. Furthermore, his work has also featured on trance behemoths, Black Hole and Songbird. Not wishing to tie himself down to one particular style or genre, Andrew sees his work, "growing and developing with each new track" with each "written with deep, passionate emotions". The recent remix of Asten's "Escape from the Deep" full of rhythmic energy, and the dark, pulsing "I Will Be" for the 2012 "Fall Particles" compilation, confirms this approach to Andrew's craft.

Writing and producing under the name, Asten, Evgeny Suglobov has similarly provided an impressive volume of work for the Proton label roster with a kaleidoscopic range of tracks signed to Silk Textures, Round Triangle and Festival Lounge among others. Furthermore, Asten's energy and drive has led him to form the 'Aura' record label with fellow Russians, Escenda, and providing a vehicle to release his own music while recruiting other talents. Asten's work for Particles has been equally impressive with his October remix of the Juan Deminicis track "Outstanding" reaching the coveted status of number 1 in Beatport's 'Must Hear Progressive Chart'.

Now, Andrew Benson and Asten join forces to provide a two track EP that bristles with Asten's tech-styled rhythms and beats and Andrew's beautifully crafted melodies and deep-rooted sensibilities. The opening track, "Freefall" combines ticking hi-hats and a crackling, popping, percussive layer with deep house bass, before a melodic riff encourages a lighter, melancholy feel. Before long a deep pulsing bass takes centre stage echoing its 'housier' counterpart and driving the track through to its conclusion combined with a layer of complex filtered pads.

The title track, "When Toys Come Alive", combines a similar beat and bass combination to its EP stable mate, but the presence of a multitude of melodic layers and Andrew Benson's deep sustained bass lines give the track a infinitely dynamic and intricate characteristic. The presence of a 'toy box' lead line, mechanical sounding effects and rhythmic components, give a further impression that the production elements cleverly mirror the very essence of bringing inanimate playthings to life.

Using the 'toys' at their disposal, Andrew Benson and Asten's hugely impressive collaborative effort has very much 'come alive'.

Directed by Jay Epoch
Design by Ben Mautner
Mastered by Cid Inc.
Text by James Warren

01 Freefall
02 When Toys Come Alive

KOBANA - Great tracks.
NIKKO.Z - Freefall for sure!
SCOTTY.A - Freefall is superb.
TVARDOVSKY - Freefrall for me.

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