Release Date: Feb 5, 2016
Record label: Virgin EMI
Genre(s): Electronic, House, Pop/Rock, Club/Dance, Progressive House, EDM
A Swedish producer based out of L.A., Eric Prydz first hit in 2004 with the Steve Winwood-sampling "Call on Me" and then became better known for "Proper Education," a 2006 cut that turned Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2" into a slamming dancefloor-filler. His loopy, spacy, and hooky brand of progressive house kept him in good standing with the dancefloor faithful until the 2015 single "Opus" put him back in the general public's eye with its epic nine-minute buildup and a remix request tweeted out by Kieran Hebden, aka the left-field producer Four Tet.
It’s been one of the more unusual evolutions in 21st-century dance to see Eric Prydz transform himself from the DJ behind blissfully cheesy chart-toppers (and videos!) like “Call on Me” and “Proper Education,” into someone who, a decade later, can plausibly share bylines with both CHVRCHES and Four Tet in the same calendar year. In the meantime, he’s become one of the most recognizable and respected names in progressive house — one who, unlike many of the genre’s more mainstream-exposed practitioners, actually does try to push the genre forward. When Kieran Hebden put his highly acclaimed spin on Prydz’s “Opus” single last year, it was most notable because the electronic innovator didn’t even have to do that much to the symphonic, slow-cresting original to turn it into a total mindf**k — just a bit of restructuring and a whole lot of pleasure-delaying.
What’s most surprising about Eric Prydz isn’t so much the career he’s had as it is the sheer number of careers he could’ve had. Career Number One, of course, would’ve been him as the David Guetta-styled pop savant, as the Swedish-born Prydz’s 2004 hit “Call on Me”, which featured a Steve Winwood sample used so effectively that even Winwood himself felt the need to record new vocals for, became an international dance smash, catapulting Prydz to the forefront of a movement he wasn’t even sure he wanted to be a part of. Yet churning out such instantly-contagious moments of pop perfection is a hell of a day job, and one that comes with eternally-crushing expectations.
Eric Prydz got his pop crossover out of the way early. The Swedish DJ and producer broke through in 2004 with "Call on Me," a fizzy filter-house anthem that sampled Steve Winwood’s "Valerie" and came complete with a video aimed at horny boys. For many EDM acts, once they go pop, they stay pop, but Prydz’s career since then has represented a kind of balancing act between overground notoriety and underground cred.
With a track named after an Ibiza nightclub (Sunset at Cafe Mambo) and others that might as well be (Black Dyce, Floj, Klepht), it’s clear where this Swedish producer’s heart lies: Playa d’en Bossa, surrounded by toned abdominals. Prydz’s gift is in squaring the aggressive inanity of EDM with the passive inanity of progressive house, sometimes making gold from these base metals by plating them with Kraftwerkian pop melody. Across two hours, there’s plenty of dross: techno-leaning tracks lack danger, while others could soundtrack the bland aspiration of a duty-free shop.