In his profile of Hivern Discs last year, RA's Jack Haighton singled out the Barcelona label for its abundance of homegrown personality in the face of a Spanish dance music scene sorely lacking it. But one senses that regardless of where Hivern Discs set up shop, they'd stand out from the crowd. Fresh face Aster's first solo release for the label, Danza, is a case in point: definitely not techno but not exactly house or bass music either, the three originals on offer here—plus a remix from another shapeshifting dance music renegade—slot nicely into their own little world.
The closest you'd come to pegging Aster is on the A-side. Quick-footed opener "Assis" comes off like Hessle Audio bedecked in pastels: shiftily rhythmic and spotlessly organic, it's a track intent on getting your head nodding and keeping it that way. "Lamento Castellano" slows Aster's stomp down to a John Talabot slink, with a low-key arrangement and mournful acid line befitting its title. On the B-side, "Danza" merges these two moods, providing much-needed uplift with skittering 707 rimshots and gummy bass while bear-hugging pads continue ramping up emotional resonance. The renegade remixer in question, Ital, wisely doesn't smother Astra's plentiful personality with his own: it injects some edgy darkness into "Danza," but more than a full-scale reconstruction, his version skillfully stretches the original out like Silly Putty.
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Tracklist: Aster - Danza A1 Assis
A2 Lamento Castellano
B2 Danza (Ital's Remix)
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