Hernan Cattaneo’s contribution to the Balance mix series is straight from the time capsule. The eclectic mixture of techy grooves on this cut harks directly back to the late nineties, when the downtempo genres were on blast throughout the underground and above, on street level and in the club.
Nowadays, in the fashionable, modern retrospective, most look back on these old school, “basic” genres as the Diplo blocks to EDM’s Lego bricks. The sentiment can best be condensed: “Sure we all grew up on it, but come on, we don’t want to hear that anymore”. On his Balance mix, Cattaneo gives us a cut of best features from 90’s dance music with his masterful employ of the trancey, layer-based structures integral to downtempo. In addition, his novel reaffirmations of an older electronic aesthetic, evident in archaic drum machines, vocal samples, and synth textures, will be sure to stick the older cats on the walk with a warm nostalgia for the period.
I believe this is the greatest aspect of Hernan retro aesthetics on his Balance mix, their broad nostalgic appeal. Despite which genre you were listening to in the late nineties, the sound was essentially similar, (or at least, we can say as much now) in that the drum machines, samplers, and synthesizers used in trip hop are were also produced tech house, big beat or any other smaller garage genre. As such, Hernan Cattaneo affords a diverse group of listeners an authentic, rare aftertaste from that bygone era.
Not just anyone can get away with sounding like this. As an Argentinian producer/DJ, Cattaneo is somewhat of an outsider as far as mainstream dance music is concerned; certainly not a household name. His status as an outsider, far from hindering the affects of his music, helps to authenticate its overall effect. With each new release, Cattaneo further exploits the outsider position and mentality, putting out material which suits his personal fancy, in lieu catering to the musical preferences of a majority body of listeners. His Balance mix (026) is no exception.
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