Eric Estornel had a mammoth year in 2011 under the nom de production Maceo Plex. It was a long time coming, to be honest. The producer has been making tracks for years, honing his craft in the studio, mostly releasing tracks as Maetrik. A quick look at his voluminous Discogs page will confirm: Dude is a studio hound, with hardly enough labels to house his prodigious output. (The arrival of his Ellum Audio imprint last year almost seemed long overdue.) Maetrik took a backseat last year, as Estornel gigged on the back of his Life Index album and eventually notched a #5 placement in RA's top DJ poll.
But there were Maetrik gigs throughout the year, and none of them bigger than the live set presented with Live at Cocoon Ibiza. The CD showcases Estornel's performance at the closing party for Sven Vath's weekly White Isle shindig, and things kick off from almost the first second. "The Poem," which samples Mutabaruka's contribution to Bobby Konders' track of the same name, starts like a breakdown and ratchets things up until the kick drum and the full bassline arrive at the same moment and provide relief. You can almost imagine the crowd at Amnesia's arms rising in unison.
Mutabaruka seems somewhat important here. Given the success of Maceo Plex's housier (and, as a result, poppier) leanings, it seems like there are more vocals than you might imagine a Maetrik live set to have contained, say, four years ago. Most of the tracks contain a vocal of some description to hold onto, whether it be Mutabaruka, pitched down repeating words like "jazzercise" and "house" or just disembodied snatches of voices syncopating against the pounding beat. In fact, at times it's hard to say whether you're listening to Maetrik or Maceo. (Indeed, two Maceo tracks make it on the mix—"Deez Nuts" and "Under the Sheets.")
That's not much of a problem. The funkiness that has propelled Estornel's tracks over the past 24 months or so is the same, no matter which name they've been under. "The Reason" has a dark heart, but its bassline still slithers. Same for "Pressure." The sound design is busy in the same way as his Dumb-Unit and Treibstoff 12-inches without sacrificing its swing. Minimal techno or Crosstown house: It all just sounds like Eric Estornel.
Buy Maetrik - Live at Cocoon Ibiza at
Tracklist: Maetrik - Live at Cocoon Ibiza 01. Maetrik - The Poem
02. Silicone Soul - 3am (Maetrik Jazzersize Remix)
03. Maetrik - Particle House
04. Popof - Blue Dream (Maetrik Rmx)
05. Maetrik - Pressure
06. Maetrik - The Entity
07. Maetrik - Reason
08. Maceo Plex - Deez Nuts
09. Maetrik - Crush On Me
10. Maceo Plex - Under The Sheets