The excellently titled Strumpetocracy EP is Madteo's first release since his Noi No LP for Sähkö late last year. While that record saw Matteo Ruzzon expanding his vocabulary with beatless compositions of various sorts, here we're back in more familiar territory: a mixture of abstruse house and shadowy downtempo sketches, beat-led but far from rhythmically straightforward.
"Laissez-Fair Couture" is a gritty, suspenseful beast, built around a kick that sounds like a balloon being thwacked against a microphone. As a string drone periodically swells and recedes, twitchy synth lines and parched industrial tones are unravelled in a typically perverse manner. "Mr. Gecko" is the requisite downtempo number, marching with an ungainly gait that's equal parts terrifying and absurd. A woman's voice chants something similar to—but not quite—the title; you get the sense there's a trademark Ruzzon pun buried in there somewhere.
Brilliantly unstable house construction "We Doubt (You Can Make It)" is the record's peak. As the titular vocal refrain is ceaselessly stuttered, fragmented and re-ordered, and a creamy bassline swoops underneath, it's difficult not to marvel at the skill with which Ruzzon builds momentum without ever allowing the beat to settle into regularity. Remixes of the track from Sex Tags' DJ Sotofett and Dreesvn set out in opposite, if equally devious, directions. Sotofett's "Radio Mix" is vaguely floor-friendly but endearingly homespun; Dreesvn throw the spotlight on luscious New Jersey organ chords for a stop-start curio that's both soulful and chilly.
Buy Madteo - Strumpetocracy at
Tracklist: Madteo - Strumpetocracy A1 Laissez-Faire Couture
A2 Mr. Grecko
A3 We Doubt (DJ Sotofett Radio Mix)
B1 We Doubt (You Can Make It)
B2 We Doubt (Dresvn Remix)