Dani Casarano and Felipe Valenzuela have been on a serious hot streak for the past couple of years since each began releasing music, and together, they're doing even more damage. The Swiss/Chilean partnership has torn it up from the Alps to the Andes and back, with a steady stream of records for the likes of Fumakilla, Fumalab and Metroline. Now, making their debut appearance on Cadenza, they deliver an EP that goes incredibly deep: deftly balancing hypnotic house grooves, Afro-Latin percussive flights and carefully manipulated jazz samples, tough and smooth in equal measure.
Nearly 10 minutes long, "La Tulipe" is a tour de force of inspired programming and intuitive arrangement. Reminding us that "deep house" means more than just plunking chords over a 4/4 beat, Casarano and Valenzuela draw upon Afrobeat to give the tune its unusually lithe, limber step. Building slowly atop a bed of rippling percussion, interlocking keyboards and bass lines braid a tight, call-and-response counterpoint flecked with syncopated accents. Powerful but understated, almost subliminal vocal shots keep the energy spiraling upwards, and a dazzling piano solo provides the final element to carry the track along its liquid course.
"Chance" digs in with a heavier, blunter bass line and a more immediate groove; zeroing in on a one-bar repetition, it chimes over and over like an alarm clock set to wake you from your disco nap. For all its forward momentum, its airy piano phrases actually tug you ever deeper into dreamland, before it all blows wide open with flashing hi-hats and a renewed sense of energy. A vision of deep house at its most emphatic, it's also a study in careful control, with the duo's fingertips subtly pressed against filters and faders, sculpting and shaping.
A chest-thumping stand-up bass line gives "Pantro" its immediate sense of presence. The track bulks up with a chunky house groove and rattling, rolling steel drum, but it never feels like heavy lifting: these two know how to spring-load a groove. Hi-hats skate across the offbeats, and warm, rounded sounds bubble up through ample empty space, giving the whole thing an unusually fluid, gliding sense of motion. DJs will want to play this one through to the very end of the wax: the laugh that closes it out is the very essence of the record's generous, genial spirit.
Three amazing tracks offering subtle variations on a single theme: the La Tulipe EP is a definitive statement on the state of house music, 2010. And things are looking very good, indeed.