Out last year via SCI+TEC, Nagaya’s ‘Dream Interpretation’ was an immersive masterclass in ritualistic simplicity.…
In his new EP Modern Mantras, released by London label onedotsixtwo, Buenos Aires native Parternaire presents a new collection of progressive-infused tracks that do great justice to the Argentinian city’s reputation as a hotbed for the genre, starting with its illustrious son Hernan Cattaneo, who has obviously been a huge influence for many producers hailing from the South American country. This influence is palpable throughout the artist’s work in the EP’s cool, detached vibe, which doesn’t rely on gimmicks but on true appreciation not only for electronic music but also for the composition, arrangement, and production process, resulting in a sleek, polished and driving EP with plenty of pumping, pulsating electronic goodness.
Parternaire’s sense of purpose, rhythm, and depth is made evident right as the record kicks off, with opening track ‘Rephlex’ offering a broken beat workout that borders on liquid drum n´ bass, and reminiscent at times of the work of such greats as Photek. This means that it has a timeless quality to it, stripping all superfluous elements off of the mix, retaining the basic core elements, and letting the energy flow through.
Next, ‘Modern Mantra’ goes straight into trance territory, with phased-out, reverberating loops grounded by a rock-solid rhythm, giving it a sense of unstoppable momentum that, even though the BPM is in the mid-tempo range, makes it shoot straight ahead like a fiery arrow.
‘The Seance’ follows, which is, in my opinion, the standout track of this EP, carefully produced, elegant, deliberate, and with plenty of groove. The eerie vocals add to the dark but seductive atmosphere, like the dark and sweaty dancefloor of a club buried deep in the bowels of some city somewhere, lost in time and space.
Then comes ‘The Lights We Bend’, which increases the tempo and the intensity for a full-on progressive trance workout, with a kind of call-and-response dynamic going between the echoing and buzzing synths that ride the beat, supported by a dense layer of pads and an occasional disembodied female voice floating in the ether.
Fifth track ‘Matteria’ keeps the intensity and goes into more melodic territory with a bigger sound, stormy synths mark the vibe over a razor-sharp beat, creating a vortex of sound and voltage that Partenaire effectively uses to increase and release the pressure over the course of the track.
‘Surface’ closes the EP with a decidedly classic feel, a sound reminiscent of the late ’90s, the heyday of progressive house and trance, which means that it’s a welcome reminder of the music that made us fall in love with the genre in the first place, all those years ago. But Surface is not just an exercise in nostalgia, it can also serve as a statement that, sometimes, if you want to move forward, you have to look back.
So, in all, ‘Modern Mantras’ is a very enjoyable EP with a classic sound that doesn’t feel like a rehash, or an imitation, instead, it is a great way for Partenaire to give shape to his own production style, it all feels very natural, carrying an undeniable groove that makes it very likely that it will warrant repeated listening from those who appreciate the true sound of progressive house. With a production that feels caring and attentive to detail, this EP is a worthy addition both to Partenaire’s discography as well as to the overall contribution of Argentinian producers to electronic music all over the world.
Grab your copy here.