Dominating the EDM Irish iTunes charts with his EP “Breaking Through”, and topping playlists on radio stations in Canada, USA, and the UK, with the EP’s title track as well the single “Warfare”, Anton Cullen is a driven, talented music producer hailing from Dublin, Ireland. His relationship with music goes a long way back, as he boasts a diverse and eclectic background in the local music scene. Anton has been active as a keyboardist and pianist alongside many talented groups, as well as producing his own instrumental piano compositions. Cullen’s distinctive style, consistently well-received and reviewed, has attained a level of magnetic power that outshines many of his peers. He is much more than your average producer simply looking to feed his listeners’ inner party animal — he’s looking to feed their minds and intellect too. Anton Cullen obviously considers the relationship between the music and his audience all-powerful, and seems to hold himself to higher standards than most when it comes to user experience.
The nametag EDM, may just be a bit restrictive and reductive when it comes to Anton Cullen’s music on “Breaking Through”. Sure the up-tempo beats and danceable rhythms along with the pulsating synths are all there, but it’s in the instrumental arrangements that Cullen separates himself from the EDM crowd.
What he delivers through differing sonic landscapes, from high-octane to introspective, is enchanting in its own way, and can be called a thing of creative brilliance. The intricate chord progressions and keyboard runs are more akin to complex progressive rock than they are to beat driven electronic dance music. Yet Cullen melds them into a cauldron that will intrigue both types of listeners.
As much as the synth keys swerve and dive on the opening title track, “Breaking Through”, the bass lines rumble and roll on “Driven”. Here we dive into massive layers of low-end growling bass that will truly bring you to your knees. Although heavy and affected, the beat stays buoyant, choppy and full of progressive fusion edginess.
“Warfare” is 100% certifiable anthem material. This beautiful, atmospheric foot stomping brand of Anton Cullen is perfectly augmented by the soaring synths and banging drums. Though the sound is hard and heavy, this track feels like it floats in mid-air.
Gleamingly playful motifs wander among the thick synth melodies and syncopated rhythms on “Galactic Groove”, while the tripped-out bass adds a mischievous edge. The measured, pseudo-minimal feel is sharpened by the force of the track’s momentum which has an undeniable groove to it.
Chilling and visceral from the moment it starts, “Daydream” is the EP’s breath of fresh air. The deep, driving bass line and heavy synth chords propel you forward through waves of spacey sound. Songs like this showcase the intuition Cullen has developed over time. This song is upbeat, all-encompassing, but never overwhelming.
“Heaven On Earth” can be likened to a movie soundtrack with its epic strings and cinematic stance. This is the one track that has a totally different sound to all the rest on the EP. Overall, I’d have to say that the “Breaking Through” EP is for the EDM adventurists out there that are looking to try something a little bit new. Are there recognizable moments for the traditionalists throughout the EP? Yes, there are, but that’s not the point when you’re dealing with creative brilliance!