Superstar DJs under the age of 21 seem completely normal today, but back when Michael Badal broke onto the scene in the late 2000s it was a rare occurrence. Times have definitely changed and after many years, the young LA producer has finally released his first full-length studio record on Black Hole Recordings. Now That We’re Human features influences from all across the electronic music spectrum and while we may have visited all its destinations previously, it’s a journey that includes some fantastic moments.
If you listen to Now That We’re Human and expect a compilation of club bangers and sub heavy festival jams, you’re approaching it the wrong way. Instead, Badal has given us an album of crisp, professionally crafted electronica that draws heavily from classic progressive trance and catchy house beats. Highlights include the smooth, soulful Closer, the dramatic yet brightening, Recapture, and the climactic, soundscape of Inner Sanctum, which is just one of the few non 4×4 tracks that Now That We’re Human relies on to give it it’s identity.
Badal also recruited a slew of singers including Ellie Lawson, Sue McLaron, Jan Johnson, Shanookee and more, and while everyone shows up, its hard to tell most of them apart, which begs to question if that many different names were necessary for this release. While the music is quite on point, the one-dimensional vocals oftentimes detract from many of the dancier tunes but tend to shine more on the downtempo entries like The Room featuring Zoe Sky Jordan, or Ellie Lawson in the wonderfully catchy Closer.
As a listening experience, Now That We’re Human has the ability to entice and inspire like the best of them. The valleys are present, but the peaks are very high which is why Badal is here to stay and will continue to improve as time goes on. His eclectic taste is invaluable and it definitely shows here.