Cadenza welcomes yet another new member into the fold with its 35th release. Hailing from
Caracas, Venezuela, Berlin's Miguel Toro brings an indisputably Latin touch to his
productions, which of course fits perfectly with Cadenza's aesthetic. In fact, Toro is no mere
button-pusher, but a talented percussionist in his own right—throughout 2007, he even
served as the accompanist for Samim's rollicking live sets. But there's far more than shakers
and congas to set Toro's work apart.
Mutating the title of the Velvet Underground classic, 'Sissteray' charges ahead with a
pumping, rock-steady beat, with plenty of rolling hand percussion to supply the rhythmic
nuance. The most notable hook are a pair of repeated vocal samples that hover just on the
edge of intelligibility. The effect is like fusing the DNA of decades-old pop into the finelytuned
body of a contemporary drum track—resulting in a powerful 'earworm' that glints and
ripples like a lean, muscular snake. There's a curious vintage feel to the track, from its
jacking, no-nonsense rhythm to subtle touches of reverb that creak and hiss like a kicked
'Quassi' is slightly more laid back, but it still stomps like a herd of elephants heading for the
watering hole. Toro's percussive sensibilities are more on display here, with keenly
syncopated woodblocks and metallic shakers galore - loose percussion gives the cut its
essential 'human' feel, with weird, polyrhythmic lines shaping an arc that never settles into
four-bar predictability. The samples are nothing short of otherworldly, with garbled voices
and gritty rumblings bubbling up from the background, while jewel-toned keyboards veer
from a housey chug towards more fanciful lines of flight suggesting all-out space jazz.
Despite the wealth of ideas, though, Toro always keeps it simple: every sound works in
service of the all-important groove.