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Stepping up to the plank of the Paradise Lost pirate ship, ready to jump into the abyss, is Rakoon. Following up on last year's "Sandworm EP", the prolific German producer displays an evolved sound which embraces the new direction that Paradise Lost is heading and presents us with the "Hidden Agenda EP". Deep and sinister 170bpm cuts meld seamlessly with more soundtrack-oriented ambient textures to produce his best work to date. Title track "Hidden Agenda" is a subtle, darkly alluring hybrid beast, combining Grey Area influences with foreboding cinematics and minimal DnB stylings. "Silicon Valley" delivers militant 4AM subzero vibes, but surprises with an epic, melancholic melodic breakdown. Brewing an eerie, kickdrum-focused soup of witchcraft, "Phantom" goes all in and fittingly finishes the DnB portion of the release. "Are You Listening" follows with a stylistic throwback excursion, combining an 80s style synthwave workout with a plodding, glitched-out halftime beat, while the final two tracks "Why Do You Haunt Me" and "The Moment She Looks Away" transport the listener to a place of raw, ambient emotion, awash with sweeping string chords and trickling synth arpeggios. Contrary to the title of this 6-track, 45-minute EP, Rakoon is making his agenda perfectly clear: building dark sonic constructs while giving in to the drawn-out textures and emotions of a maturing producer, for a maturing and discerning audience.
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