Dirty South – Speed Of Life (Album Review)

Posted by on March 6, 2013


Serbian born, Australian native Dragan Roganovic, better known to the world for the past decade as Dirty South has finally released his debut artist album “Speed Of Life” after countless singles, EPs, collaborations and remixes. The album is where his sound is at this present moment, but it is also a culmination of everything he has done to this point and how he has evolved and grown as an artist. There is no doubt that if he had written this 2 or 5 years ago, the album would have sounded totally different, and we are grateful that he took the time to wait and mature to venture into the difficult, arduous, yet rewarding process of creating an album. The 45 minutes containing “Speed Of Life” have no wasted second, every bit has a purpose and there is no song that seems to be a filler. This carefully crafted album may leave you wishing there was more at the end, but isn’t that a good thing, or at least a whole lot better then you wishing there was less.

This album is much more downtempo and melodic then what we have seen from Dirty South in his singles. He is really trying to tell a story through his music and is not indulging in big, festival ready drops. You probably won’t hear Dirty South play most of these tracks out, or at least in most settings he won’t because of how his sets work and the expectation of a Dirty South live set. However, that does not diminish the value of these tracks in any way, it may actually make them more special since listening to this album may be the only way you will hear the majority of these tracks.

You can hear the rock influences throughout the album with heavy doses of guitar riffs and chords and capture the emotion that a band like U2 or Coldplay puts together in one of their tracks, notably in a track like “Your Heart” that emphasizes Joe Gil’s vocals over smooth guitar chords. There is nothing disjointed about the album, instead it comes together as one whole work. The album also makes a stand for male vocalists. While there are flashes of female vocals bits here and there, Joe Gil and Rudy show that male vocalists on house tracks are more then capable of matching up to their female counterparts.

The album starts with “Gods”, the first of two collab with Dirty South’s good friend and running mate, Rudy, known for tracks like “Phazing” and “Leave A Light On”, that uses Rudy’s outstanding vocals with slow rising synth chords. The later collab, “Something Like You”, relies on a churning low end, an emotive melody and again Rudy’s infectious vocals. At first I was a bit skeptical of the guitar riffs and driving low end of “Super Sounds”, but in the context of the greater sound of the album it meshes perfectly into the story that Dirty South is trying to tell.

The first of the two Joe Gil collabs “In The End”, has been the most popular thus far and my favorite since I first heard the preview, crafts an exquisite melody of long synths, light piano key play, emotive strings, the ever present guitar chords and Joe Gil’s vocals. “Champions” is more along the same vein as “Super Sounds” with its edgier sound, giving the album a full array of styles and shows where he is now, but does not stray away from the subtle, melodic nature of the rest of the album.

A track I would like to hear all across Miami during WMC when the sun is rising, “Sunrise” has a more down tempo twang of disco flare with a slow, hypnotizing bass line. The song name maybe should have been switched with “Sunset” because of the nature of his work being a night owl, but the track order makes perfect sense. “Reset” is one of the more unique tracks on the album bringing the album back and forth between uplifting vocal tracks, more down tempo, melodic ones and songs with a little more edge.

The last two tracks finish out the album with “Sunset” and “Speed Of Life”, both tracks that bring closure to the 45 minutes musical story that Dirty South is trying to tell. “Sunset” brings you to the image of a beach somewhere with the sun setting using a slow rolling bass line and soothing sythns with harmonized vocals. The title track “Speed Of Life” is a slow building track that closes the book on Dirty South’s debut album.

Dirty South has built his career to this point on singles, but with “Speed Of Life”, he begins to build his legacy as one of the premier progressive house producers we have right now.

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