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Eric Prydz makes his first full album a massive one

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Three and a half stars

Eric Prydz Opus

Eric Prydz is, like his progressive house comrade in arms Deadmau5, ideal for those transitioning from commercial EDM to more substantial electronic dance music. But where ’Mau5 already has released seven albums, the discography of the Swede-turned-Los Angeleno—and new Marquee resident—is limited to compilations and a torrent of EPs and singles credited to his various aliases (i.e., Pryda and the more techno-centric Cirez D).

That changes with Opus, his debut longplayer—and long it is. The two-hour-plus ride is programmed like a DJ set, except Prydz doesn’t mix together his songs or stick purely to floodlit club cuts (see electro-rock throwaway “Breathe”). Predictably, his darker and deeper, Cirez D-like tendencies turn up mid-album with a handful of afterhours-ready tracks (including “Eclipse,” one of the most complex and considered songs on Opus). The rest of the album closely follows Prydz’s compositional model: an anchoring 4/4 beat and Euro-house bassline, with layers of synth notes, gusts and phrases topped by a dominant keyboard melody that’ll loop inside your head until you take in the next one. Think classic but updated progressive house—and not the Beatport version of it—that only flirts with the serotonin spikes of trance.

More discerning fans might get impatient with older chestnuts like “Every Day” and “Liberate,” or even Prydz’s incremental creative evolution, but diehards and newbies alike will revel in the jawdropping amount of hooks, especially in the final, seven-track climb toward the euphoric title track. Opus is ambitious more in length than in artistic reach, but sticking to his strengths helps Prydz serve up a proper, introductory platter of tasteful anthemry.

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