hernan cattaneo: the masters (review)

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May 25, 2009 by DJ Elroy

Courtesy of Renaissance Recordings

Courtesy of Renaissance Recordings

words by djElroy~

LISTEN TO A SAMPLE OF THIS HERE! (Courtesy of Renaissance)

South America’s progressive-house emissary has returned with another Masters mix to commemorate the milestone 50th album on Renaissance. Award-winning DJ/Producer Hernan Cattaneo has been in the game for more than two decades, and if you’ve ever heard his music you know why he’s outlasted so many others. From jet-setting world tours to his radio shows to the hours spent in the studio, Hernan is a true dance-music dynamo. This newest addition to the Masters Series is a double-disc of awesomeness (yes, I said awesomeness); 29 tracks of pure aural bliss, over a third of which are Hernan’s own originals or reworks. So can we forgive him for not releasing an album in the past two years? Survey says: Yes!

We’ve come to expect nothing less than the best from Master Cattaneo, and that’s exactly what he’s given us. This album is seamlessly mixed and expertly structured with a natural flow most other jocks just cannot match. It’s no wonder the dance music community demanded he be the one to work this benchmark release. The sound quality is second to none — warm, smooth, and full-bodied. Hernan’s distinctive style — here, as in his past albums — is to take the listener on an epic journey, emphasizing the music and leaving the fluffy vocals and MTV-hooks to the others.

Disc 1 opens with Hakimonu’s “Jag House 1989” and layers itself with beautiful percussion and melodious synths, setting the stage for the mix and promising good things to come. The next three tracks have Cattaneo’s fingers all over them, guaranteeing symphonic excellence. “Modflow” drops in with a beautifully orchestrated classic prog vibe, driving basslines and native beats, while the hypnotizing ready-steady percussion of “July” keep the mix charged with life. Guy Gerber’s “Stoppage Time” rises like an electronic deity responding to the rhythm, and the haunting pads and out-of-this-world riff sent chills down my spine. The groove kicks into overdrive and  the next several tracks show us a roller-coaster ride of harmony with progressive-styled elements with hints of funk, tech, and trance.

Disc 2 picks up the baton and continues the musical marathon, never flagging or changing direction. You get even more peak-time wonders full of rhythm and motion with epic hands-in-the-air masterpieces. The sinister melodies of “She Shines” carry nicely into the driving basslines on “Describe the Doc”. Zabiela’s breaks and bass colossus “Human” follows and adds some spice and variety to this already blazing mix. Drop in with the techy-twangy syths on “Darwin’s Eye” and follow it with the underwater LSD experience of the epic “Flower’s Planet”. The monumental build of “Murder and Fingerprints” offers an adrenaline shot to the heart as layer upon layer of frantic energy take over. The mix covers all the bases, from catchy synthetic hooks to more natural native vibes and closes with the extra-terrestrial serenity of “They Came from the Light”.

Words simply cannot capture the beauty of this compilation; it is something one needs to experience to truly appreciate. The heavenly melodies and intricate genius of the music exemplify perfection. This album is without a doubt one of the best mixes I’ve had the privilege to listen to in years. Definitely a must-have for anyone and everyone; fans of Master Cattaneo, progressive house music junkies, or anyone that lives and loves good music, period.


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