Gai Barone guides listeners through a stunning aural journey with his latest progressive masterpiece, Under Zero!
With its ability to evoke powerful emotions and facilitate an intimate sensory response, Under Zero is a gorgeous “mini-album” created by none other than one of the leaders in progressive, Gai Barone. Not one to stray away from his sound, Barone has always had an amazing grasp on how to conjure up an array of human emotion, how to start softly and build over time and in one, two, three or more hours inspire happiness, sadness, contemplation, introspection, and more.
In Under Zero, Gai Barone showcases his classical training by mixing melodies, harmonies, and arpeggios together in a way that seems effortless. In a previous life, Barone was a music therapist working in hospice with roles including using music to allow patients o convey their socio-emotional needs and guiding them through a very difficult, emotional times. This may explain why so many of his tracks are emotional, passionate, and peaceful and why each song takes the listener on a personal journey.
The power of progressive is that it is not confined to one style, it can take the form of real progressive trance, progressive house, progressive techno and anything in between. That pure sound with its minimal builds but multifaceted layers will always be considered progressive. I find it hard to describe progressive tracks, because it’s not about the melodies or the arpeggios, the build-ups and the breakdowns, it’s about the feeling you get when you hear the track, that visceral reaction, the sensory, the goosebumps, the places your mind takes, and each person has a very different very individualized physiological response.
There’ s no need to categorize and typify each song as the word progressive describes it perfectly and allows an artist freedom to create as they see fit. Gai Barone does just that as his sound traverses between multiple genres which lend to its power and depth. However, not being bound to a category, at times can make it difficult to have a foothold as the sound doesn’t identify with one such fanbase. I say this because this album is absolutely stunning and deserves to be recognized for its greatness, yet without the full force of trance, house, or techno fans backing it, it’s hard to break through. We can not allow this real progressive masterpiece to fall between the cracks. Read on for my thoughts on the tracks and why Under Zero is one of my top albums of the year!
Stream Gai Barone – Under Zero on Spotify:
The first thing that stands out about Under Zero is its cohesiveness. From top to bottom, each track fits in and flows together beautifully.
This wasn’t a random smattering of songs but a well thought out, beautifully crafted album with each track having its own distinctive style while still fitting within the overall essence of the complete sound. In this, Gai Barone invites listeners on to traverse different moods, melodies, and settings – from happy to introspective, 80s to modern, dance club to beach-side. That’s the power of progressive and Gai Barone is one of the masters of this style.
“Chavah” sets the tone for the album and starts it off in a gorgeous manner.
In early November, Gai Barone released a track called “Himika” that was likened to my favorite of his tracks, “Eve“. While “Himikia” is a beautiful track in its own right, “Chavah” sounds more like a successor to the emotional and poignant “Eve”. Furthermore, Chavah is the Hebrew equivalent for the name Eve. The gorgeous “Chavah” takes some of the best parts of “Nexo” and “Eve” and creates this melodic twinkling epic.
For me, Gai Barone’s tracks are about the sounds, of course, but more importantly for the feelings they evoke. With “Chavah” I had that same discernible Gai Barone progressive build-up and light kicks with the minimalist break. All before slowly re-building and layering each sound once again. This is done in such a way that you almost taste each layer and understand how each contributes to the overall track yet come together as part of his musical composition recipe to create a rich and powerful and flavorful blend. Clearly “Chavah” is one of my favorites on the mini-album.
Both “Walking” and “Formal” have the distinction of being two of the tracks on Under Three that evoke less of the introspective and reflective feel.
However, their inclusion allows listeners to appreciate the range and variety of the album and of progressive as a whole. Both tracks are both akin to a more clubby dance feel, as though an opening progressive set is about to close and is ushering in the next artist about to grace the stage.
“Walking” is certainly more uptempo of the two, while “Formal” is a bit deeper as both employ a dynamic use of synths and melody. I could definitely hear both tracks in an 80s film, not to say it’s old or dated but more so speaks to Gai Barone’s ability to take a classic sound and modernize it.
“Minefract” returns to that deeply introspective feel as it employs the use of a rolling bassline and ethereal sounds.
Though very understated, “Minefract” is the track most likely to take you on a well-crafted journey that leaves listeners wide-eyed, positive and curious. Most Gai Barone tracks typically allow listeners to conjure up their own emotions and interpretation depending on what you need at the moment, however, this one made me feel happy each time. The crackling heard throughout the track were reminiscent of birds and shells to me which evoked visuals and feelings of being at the beach and being lost in the depths of the ocean.
Based on social media comments “Neenah” is clearly one of the standout fan favorites on Under Zero.
Fun fact, the track is named after Gai Barone’s beautiful dog Nina. This track is groovy and just so buttery smooth. Initially, it evoked a sense of oneness with and wonder of nature then unleashes an all-out attack on our ears that is perfect for any dance floor. I see it as a track that evokes the audience to have a “heads-up, looking at the sky in majestic wonder” kind of experience.
“A Kick Maybe” is a great dance floor track!
Opposed to the heads-up sound that “Neenah” gives off from the midpoint to the end, “A Kick Maybe” is a heads-down groover through and through. This track definitely has more of a deep underground club feel. I picture myself in a dark club, no production, body writhing, barely even able to see the DJ as that’s not the purpose.
“A Kick Maybe” is all about going on that deep house journey and being completely enveloped in the music. Similarly groovy and smooth as Neenah, this track really stands out due to its unbelievable melody which gives it a distinct sultriness. I dare you to take a listen and not feel the need to get up and groove.
The Luka Sambe remix of “Nexo” gave one of my favorite tunes a fresh take.
“Nexo” was one of my top five tracks of 2017 and I am notoriously skeptical about remixes of my favorite tracks. However, I have to admit that I am taken aback by how much I genuinely love Australian artist Luka Sambe’s takes on Gai Barone’s hit track. With its fun yet mystic feel, this track sounds akin to something found in Tetris Effect or a music game such as Child of Eden. This track is beyond relaxing and evokes a great sense of peace and happiness. It was the perfect track to end the compilation as it has a sense of finality to it and who doesn’t love a happy ending?
Gai Barone – Under Zero – Track List:
- A Kick Maybe
- Nexo (Luka Sambe Remix)