Barcelona isn't typically known for bass music, but the new label Classicworks promises an alternative to the city's tech house hegemony. The first release comes from label co-founders Cardopusher and Nehuen, a pair of transplants who hail from Caracas and Buenos Aires, respectively. Cardopusher will probably be known best for his 2008 appearance on Hyperdub, though his impressively deep catalog also includes releases on Lo Dubs, Shockout and Frijsfo Beats; Nehuen has recorded for Disboot, home to artists like Filastine and Downliners Sekt. That both are RBMA graduates comes as little surprise: The brand of club-music fusion showcased on the split EP seems to be a hallmark of RBMA alumnae.
Cardopusher's "Wave Function" and "Hotbox" strike a distinctly old-school pose, embellishing slightly broken 808 patterns with orchestral stabs, vintage hip-hop samples and the occasional hip-house flourish ("Party people in the house!"); both are dark, aggressive, a little bit unhinged—and all the more effective for it. Nehuen's "Bad Automation" filters a gurgling acid line through blocky drum programming that wouldn't sound out of place on a Clone Basement Series record, while "I Can Only Be Myself" decks out its rubbery 303 in martial 909 snares, stabbing piano chords and looped vocal samples. It sounds distinctly 1989, which is to say, distinctly 2012, but it's more effective and more convincing than most of its throwback peers.
Nick Hook's remix of "I Can" takes a minute to get going, but once the piano, bass and drums lock in to their staccato throb, it makes for a nicely focused moment of percussive, peak-time mania. DVA takes the opposite route in his "Hotbox" remix, concentrating on sickly bass and bleeps and a lurching cadence that sounds like UK funky that's been taken apart and reassembled in the dark, spare parts jutting out at odd angles.
Buy Cardopusher / Nehuen - Split 01 at
Tracklist: Cardopusher / Nehuen - Split 01 01. Cardopusher - Wave Function
02. Nehuen - Bad Automation
03. Cardopusher Hotbox
04. Nehuen - I Can Only be Myself
05. Nehuen - I Can Only be Myself (Nick Hook Remix)
06. Cardopusher & Nehuen - Hotbox (DVA Remix)