July 3, 2010 by DJ Elroy
In recent years the mediocrity of pop music has thrust its tentacles underground and taken root in the once proud-to-be-different nightlife scene. The new generation of clubflies swarm to pop hooks and auto-tuned vocals on cookie-cutter tracks and are willing — eager, even — to give up melody for those heavy beats. Has the clubbing experience truly become all about popped collars and fist-pumping superficiality? Gone are the days of intelligent music, when the DJ made a connection with the fans on a deeper level and there was more to the jock/dancefloor relationship than a dirty sawtooth and a return-toast of PBR. Remember when music meant more than immediate gratification? When it was more than a simple wham-bam-thank-you-mam in the middle of the club?
Used to be the DJ would tease and create and take the crowd on a journey.
But it’s hard to find that in the contemporary synth-heavy, dumbed-down nightlife scene.
There is hope, however. A few stalwarts are holding true to the old style, when DJs weren’t afraid to play a track longer than 4 minutes and could actually work a set with highs and lows, ups and downs. And standing at the head of the class is none other than Argentina’s Hernan Cattaneo.
His new double-disc album “Parallel” (Renaissance) is the latest offering from the prog-house superstar. Mix 1 is an opus of opiated house music; you’d even be safe casting it as a downtempo vibe. Mix 2 ratchets the BPM back up and hits the mark as more of a club set. The quality is everything we’ve come to expect from the Masters collection — superb mixing, full and warm with amazing production. And then there is the music itself — so rich and fresh. This is Hernan’s sixth Renaissance compilation (his fourth for the Masters Series) and it’s his most creative offering yet.
“Day” opens with Hernan’s own collab (one of many on the album) with Soundexile — “Indian Son/Slacker” — “See The World” (Hernan’s Dawn Reboot) and the hopeful vibe hints at the idea of both unity and diversity. “I wanna meet new people,” it says without shame and succinctly sets the tone for this journey. Music is, after all, the universal language, erasing nations and bringing cultures together.
But this mix is a bit different. “I felt it was time we took a fresh direction,” says Hernan, “I wasn’t sure just what this direction should be. So, I locked myself away and started going through loads of music for inspiration. It wasn’t till I pitched a Henry Saiz track down (and it sounded brilliant) that I hit upon the idea of dropping everything back 15-20 BPMs on the first disc.” And “brilliant” is an understatement. The “Day” mix puts a new spin on chilled progressive house. After all, rules were made to be broken.
Has it been done before? Sure. But not quite like this. The set has a unique sound and tantric vibe with that distinct Cattaneo style, and the playlist is a collection of some of the biggest and best progressive cuts.
The sun goes down. The dancefloor heats up. And “Night” follows “Day” with the tried-and-true formula, taking a more aggressive peak-hour approach and sweeping the floor out with tracks from heavy hitters like Way Out West, Quivver, and Henry Saiz (and of course even more exclusive material and remixes from the Catt man himself). Along with seamless mixing, a natural flow, and intuitive programming, this is the total package.
There is nothing so refreshing as finding a golden thread in the haystack of mass-produced, half-hearted music. Follow that thread back far enough and you’ll find Hernan Cattaneo, truly the Master of his craft. And “Parallel” weaves that thread of gold into a musical tapestry for the ages. Another treasure to add to the already impressive Renaissance vault of Masters mixes.