I’m not sure what this year is going to bring but I have a feeling it will involve an onslaught of new producers trying to earn stripes with legit underground music. So many of them are going to realize that even though they aren’t EDM formula followers, they’re still gonna have to put in that work to get to the next level. I sometimes question my more subjective criticisms about records, but I’m not self-conscious at all about being able to audibly recognize who’s still figuring out Ableton and who’s been around the block for a minute. Joe Silva is the latter.

I was listening to a new batch of promos that were particularly mediocre recently and it seems a running theme where people combine one too many ideas into a track. It screams inexperience to me. When I flip on an album like Memory Fade, the ideas flow and the changes aren’t abrasive or awkward because Silva clearly knows what he’s doing. Outside of making House records for the last ten years, he’s also been scoring soundtracks for movies and playing live shows in his home of Winnipeg. Having such a broad experience crystallizes in the incorporation of vocalists like Mariana, Sherry St. Germain and Helen Wright. The vocals don’t dominate the album but they certainly are my favorite cuts.

There’s no question this is a House album as opposed to a bunch of tracks slapped together and called one. It feels like a culmination of what he’s always done well combined with influences from all his other sound experiences up to this point. The cinematic sounds do come into play and so many of the songs feel like a journey with delightful builds and surprises around each corner.

There is no shortage of producers who have every business playing concert venues and no business rocking dancefloors with their originals. There are certainly audiences who could never sit down and listen to a tracky Phil Weeks tune from start to finish. Not many people can strike that balance between making an album worth listening to that is still plenty danceworthy. Silva somehow does and it deserves any and all attention it gets.