Sensational new EP from Max Essa

Max Essa shows he’s on fine form, as ever. His latest offering, ‘Barkhan Dunes’, is a typically blissed-out three track EP on Palms and Charms.

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Tokyo resident Max Essa is - happily for us - pretty prolific in the studio. He’s been going strong since early releases on Paper Recordings and Warp back in the ’90s, with an expansive sound-spectrum evolving from dance-floor house to cosmic disco, sun-bleached Balearica, and much more in between. He’s produced for labels including Bear Funk, Hell Yeah! Not An Animal, and his own Jansen Jardin imprint. On DJ patrol, Max can be found rocking the turntables at regular residencies in the Tokyo’s most beloved and vibe-rich late-night venues, including Bonobo and Aoyama Tunnel, and continues to perform across Japan and internationally.

In recent years he’s probably most synonymous with the Balearic disco sound. In fact, it’s hard to imagine playing a beach-side session without throwing in at least one of his offerings - with personal favourites including the deeply soothing ‘Fifth Of The Eighth’, or ‘Won Ton Sunrise’, and the post-punk, arpeggio fuelled ‘1974’, produced alongside Steve Kotey.

His latest EP doesn’t disappoint, and we’re thrilled to preview the A-side here. ‘The Price You Pay (For Loving That Way)’ warns of the ‘dangers of careless love affairs’. Indeed, it quickly builds - in euphoric fashion - over a weighted beat, with delicate layers of synths, pads, piano stabs and guitar patterns, steadily growing into a feel-good crescendo of summer light. As the track breaks down, a more melancholic feel takes hold, with emotive sax solos eventually making way for a brief reprise. Beautifully melodic, textured and complex, this is most certainly one for thoughtful sunset explorations.

All tracks on the record have their own magic and are well worth a listen. We thoroughly recommend checking out the full EP. You can buy it here.