The genesis of Dani Casarano’s career can be traced back to a vital summer spent in Chile, where following an invitation from his friend Luciano, the young Casarano had the good fortune to meet underground House figureheads Ricardo Villalobos and Dandy Jack. Inspired both by this chance meeting, and the highly evocative Chilean landscape he began to produce music of his own, resulting in his first release proper 2006’s El Zapo Hablo- a hypnotic affair largely indebted to the rolling grooves of Tech House. Looking back at this embryonic moment in his career (which seems to have left a permanent imprint), everything he has accomplished since then – from playing at Pacha, Ibiza to releasing on Cadenza- seems to suggest a man who is not happy to rest on his laurels but looks instead to challenge himself and carve out a niche to call his own, while remaining faithful to his early musical excursions in Chile, and the friendships he made.
Like his contemporaries Villalobos and Luciano, he has not only managed to remain relevant over the years to House music, but has done this without compromising his ideals of creating richly textured music. Following the trajectory of a string of increasingly prolific and notable releases it seems appropriate then that for this split release, Casarano shares the wax with none other than Fumiya Tanaka and Thomas Melchior- under their drolly titled Tofu Productions. The people involved with this release appear to be part of his Chile continuum, with both Tanaka and Melchior having worked alongside Villalobos.
Over the course of the ten or so minutes that make up Jam, Dani Casarano painstakingly sets out his by now familiar manifesto for House music; typically reducing the track to its fewest elements needed to propel it forward. Melding together the intricate sonic detailing of MicroHouse & undulating grooves of tech house the track is built around a looped bass pattern, lending the track a taut, restrained air. Dani Casarano seems to be aware of this tension and gives the listener some rhythmic respite, at seemingly random intervals the dry, tightly coiled chord stabs spiral out into delayed glacial patterns- recalling the woozy hypnotism of dub techno. With his knack to seemingly construct a track that is as sonically dense and rich as Jam from so few elements, this may be among his best yet.
On the flip side we’re treated to the first collaborative production from Fumiya Tanaka and Thomas Melchior since their 2011 single on Fumiya’s Sundance label. Keeping in tradition with their musical oeuvre, Tofu Production’s remix of Jam follows the less is more aesthetic even more stringently than Dani Casarano’s version – deconstructing the track down to its bare bones, exposing the surprisingly skeletal, brittle framework of House music. The B side is all about the tension and release of the gradually expanding synths that seem to gurgle temporarily into existence before being subsumed into the relentless drive of the drum machine. As you’d expect from two of the most enduring names in ‘minimal’ (before it became a dirty word), the record places texture and tone above club functionality; substituting accessibility for intricacy, melody for sonic detail. Like the best music in the genre, Tofu Production‘s edit is hypnotic, introspective and not without a sense of unease behind the playful tonalities at work here- not too dissimilar to the end of an afterhours.
Every repeated listen to this release only serves to highlight the dazzling array of percussive detail you missed first time round, or the second or third for that matter – with Melisma Limited 02, Dani Casarano and friends, have proven that there’s still life in this scene yet.