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Strumpetocracy

Release date: March 11, 2013
Cat No: NEK07
Barcode: 880319619915
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Madteo (aka Matteo Ruzzon) creates music whose understatement is overwhelmingly compelling. An Italian native who moved to New York City in the early ’90s, Madteo has forged a production style that casts techno, house, and hip-hop in a gritty, stripped-down subterranean murk. His keen ear for unusual tonalities and his inventive tweaking of rhythmic tropes lend his music a functionality that feels anything but perfunctory. On the Strumpetrocracy EP, Madteo constructs a distinctive sound world that throws a very strange light on dance music. “Laissez-Faire Couture” instantly transports you to bizarre realms: Its off-kilter, midtempo funky beats haloed in swirling, celestial synth drones and angelic female swoons glow in stark contrast with strident Roland 303 twangs and unsettling, growling bass frequencies. It’s as if a romantic tryst were happening in an alternate-world auto factory. Hazily reminiscent of illbient and abstract trip-hop, “Laissez-Faire Couture” is an oblong oddity that exists in its own unique sphere. “Mr. Gecko” is a steely-eyed shuffle with corrugated, slate-gray synth vapor arcing in the distance and a loop of someone saying the title in a tremulous voice. It’s so evocative, you want to base a crime-thriller movie around it. The EP’s most club-friendly cut, “We Doubt (You Can Make It)” threads a male vocalist singing a paradoxically bold mantra—“I just can’t make it”—over a broken tech-house rhythm that’s both jaunty and heavy, bolstered by a sooty, strutting bass line. DJ Sotofett’s Radio Mix of “We Doubt” adds an urgent blaxploitation-flick bass line and a more festive tempo and wildly fluttering flute and warped percussion accompaniment. Dresvn offers a chilled dub version of “We Doubt” that bumps along with weirdly timbred percussion (think horse hooves on a cobblestone road) and an eerie, shivering drone in the background that sounds like the intro to Todd Rundgren’s “International Feel.” All of these variations twist a venerable genre into unorthodox shapes and highlight Madteo’s thrillingly eccentric musical vision. For DJs seeking to keep their rooms abuzz in reality-warping excitement, Strumpetocracy is one of the most effective tools at their disposal.

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