‘Tech House’ is a term that I have never been that fond of. At what point does ‘House’ become ‘Tech House’ ? When the purpose of the tune is to dazzle a listener with detail, rather than supply a decent soundtrack to a club experience? In any case, the netlabel Ephedrina released a great ‘Tech House’ release a few months ago, and I just couldn’t let this one slip under the radar.
“STEFANO ROCCHI is back from his personal SpanishTrip and this is what he has heard, what he has felt and what he wants to tell you in the second Episode on Ephedrina Netlabel.”
A fairly confusing blurb, but you get the picture. It seems this release is the result of a traveling experience by the artist Stefano Rocchi, and it is his second release on this eclectic label. Information about this artist is limited to say the least. If the same Stefano Rocchi has this Soundcloud account, then I know that a) he has a fairly bushy beard, and b) is modestly not uploading any material! [edit: turns out the real Stefano Rocchi uses this soundcloud]
This release is a great blend of originality and diversity. A lot of it reminds of me Orbital; mellow and squelchy, with a lot of light-hearted analogue elements. However the tint this artist adds to an already-well-established and now-somewhat-dated sound kept my ears pricked up. It is simple, repetitive, and a little mind-numbing, but if you like that sort of thing, this is right up your street.
‘Nascimiento’ has a surprisingly tetchy introduction, when the regular thumping expected from a house album doesn’t quite get off the ground until just the right time, amidst a joyous bassline. ‘Hidden Key’ is by far my favourite, with velvety vocal chops and and a quirky simplicity. A plunge back to the acid techno era with the aptly named ‘Acid Arena’. Not so sure about ‘Mi Erasmus’, a little too confusing for my liking, and ‘Why say you’ was bizarre and gave me bad dreams.
In places it is a little dry, and with so much soul being thrust into music with seamless technical ability these days, it is hard not to identify this as a turn-off. And if it has been done before, this is not going to revolutionize electronic music culture or be regarded as a valuable contribution to the music scene. However, that doesn’t matter too much. Stefano has made a great album. It is crisp and clear, conforms to the toe-tapping and technique-fueled nature of the genre, and has him well lined up for spreading his ambitions and taking his sound as far as he is willing to. Perhaps a journey further afield than Spain is required by this artist (see quote above), before we get to hear a more crazy side to this artist!
Stefano Rocchi – Hidden Key
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