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Hatchie - Keepsake Music Album Reviews

Hatchie's platonic ideal of dream pop goes down a bit too easy, like another rewatch of a John Hughes film.
Shoegaze offers the perfect place to bury bad feelings; there is a storied legacy of groups like Slowdive and Mazzy Star sinking Tory conservatism and post-breakup remorse into hazy swirls of distortion. Harriette Pilbeam uses Hatchie as an outlet for more quotidian concerns — friendships, romances, nostalgia. On her EP Sugar & Spice, Pilbeam offered glassy guitars, long sighs, and some bright choruses, but there was nothing darker beneath the surface to reward your close, ongoing attention. She promised a broader palette for her debut, but Keepsake feels hemmed in by the same lack of depth. Pillbeam's platonic ideal of dream pop goes down a bit too easy, like another rewatch of a John Hughes film.





DJ Python - Derretirse EP Music Album Reviews

Lush, heady, and shot through with an undercurrent of wistful contemplation, producer Brian Piñeyro’s “deep reggaetón” sound can’t be called lo-fi anymore.

The mid-2000s were banner years for reggaetón—particularly in Miami, where the fledgling sound, a Latin American take on dancehall reggae’s dembow riddim, could be heard booming from cars up and down the avenues. One of the people who picked up on the lurching kick drums and syncopated snares as they dopplered down the block was Brian Piñeyro. As soon as he heard it, Piñeyro told Pitchfork, he realized he wanted to make music that sounded like that, but to “recontextualize” it, make it his own. Eventually he moved to New York, where he became a fixture of the city’s underground electronic community, and as he began developing his voice, crafting nuanced lo-fi house and techno under aliases like DJ Wey, Deejay Xanax, and Luis, reggaetón’s telltale syncopation snuck into his productions alongside house grooves and slow-motion jungle breaks. One project in particular came to embody his “deep reggaetón” sound: DJ Python, a name whose serpentine connotations are a good fit for Piñeyro’s slinky, sidewinding groove.

Unlike some other producers working under a reptilian moniker, there’s nothing threatening or venomous about DJ Python’s music, and the six-track Derretirse EP, the follow-up to his 2017 album Dulce Compañía, is Piñeyro’s warmest and most inviting record yet. (Its title translates as “to thaw” or “to melt.”) Reggaetón is having another moment right now, as part of the broader urbano movement, but DJ Python’s music sounds nothing like the luxe beats favored by Bad Bunny or Ozuna. Piñeyro remains rooted in the muffled drum machines and foggy synths of underground house and techno; the music on Derretirse is all instrumental, too, save perhaps for a strange, hard-to-identify sound that goes wriggling through “Cuando”—it sounds a little bit like a heavily vocoded scrap of speech or possibly jaw harp, but it could be anything, really. That ambiguity is part and parcel of the DJ Python aesthetic. Instead of using well-defined, declarative sounds to project emotion outward, he deploys nebulous elements in ways that draw the listener in.

His pacing is just as seductive. This is Piñeyro’s slowest record yet: Where most of 2016’s ¡Estéreo Bomba! Vol. 1 and Dulce Compañía bubbled along near house music’s lower limit, the tempos on Derretirse take a precipitous dive. At the same time, the dembow influence is as pronounced as it’s ever been. In “Tímbrame,” loping snares perforate a foggy expanse of synth pads and bell tones; in “Cuando,” handclaps take up the backbeat pulses, answered by echoing claps that lend a hint of the “Diwali” riddim. Sometimes, the dembow groove is mostly implied: In “Pq Cq,” the album’s spacious closing track, overdriven kick drums and rippling castanets carve out space where dembow’s accents would normally fall.

Still, despite the record’s languid energy—“I like calm shit,” Piñeyro once told Resident Advisor—this is no garden-variety chill. It’s lush and heady, and shot through with an undercurrent of wistful contemplation, but none of it sounds like an exercise in presets, whether musical or emotional: In “Espero,” muted rave stabs sing a doleful melody against guitar-like plucks and machine-like chirps—a strange jumble of expressive cues that somehow just works.

What’s clear from moments like these is how far Piñeyro’s production chops have come; this stuff can’t be called lo-fi anymore. That’s especially true on “Be Si To,” a clattering highlight. Metallic, scrap-heap drums that leave a ringing in the ears are balanced by enveloping synth pads and bass so deep you can only feel it. This full-spectrum array of frequency and texture is held together by a no-frills synth melody that sounds like a filtered dial tone, but is expressive–lyrical, even—in a way that’s unusual for this kind of subterranean club cut. As it bumbles away, one finger on the keyboard, it occasionally rises or falls in pitch before returning to its ostinato foundation. It sounds a bit like a car stereo whipping past—an echo, maybe, of the sensation that captivated a young Piñeyro all those years ago.

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