Album Review: Luca Cazal Dazzles with “Mariri”

We always look forward to checking out debut artist albums. It is a rare thing, though, to see the word “debut” attached to a name we have heard thrown around so frequently within the house and techno music communities. A former member of the Britain band Cazals, Luca Cazal has definitely earned his bragging rights since he left the UK’s indie rock scene and began toying with electronic music. He has held residencies at the lucrative DC10 in Ibiza and has had three songs selected by Pete Tong as Essential New Tunes (one of which even managed to break through the UK top 40 chart).

With so much success following closely at his back, its baffling that the Crosstown Rebels star is only just releasing his first solo offering. All we can say is, its about damn time.

The compilation’s name, Mariri, means “healing, life-giving force” in Hancha Kuin, the ancient language of the Kaxinawa tribe that dwells in the Brazilian Amazon. Fittingly, the first tune in the EP is the title track, a classic tech house introduction that carries a vibe as tribal and exotic as its namesake. Tightly programmed drums frame the tune’s strange and child-like vocals, which were sampled from a field recording Cazal made while visiting Peru.

The lead track acquires a darker and more sinister tone at the hands of Detroit techno heavyweight Stacey Pullen. Keeping the vocals intact, Pullen’s remix takes the track straight to the dance floor of a smoky underground club by adding some brooding melodies to the tune and softening the original percussion into a heady, thumping groove line.

Building off the techno feel established by Pullen’s remix, Cazal luanches into a tough and futuristic analogue theme. Co-produced with Hot Creations recent addition Mark Jenkyns, “The Bullfrog” is a tense and gritty numb that takes the EP  further away from the light and deeper into the dark of the jungle.

Cazal offers us leads us slowly back into the light with the final track on the EP, a collaboration with BL_NKSP_C_S. Titled “Memory Man,” the tune is a manifestation of simplicity and elegance. A steady and driving beat serves as the pulse for the song, while soft and melancholy vocals waft lazily to the forefront from some distant musical limbo. The tune as a whole seems to develop out of nowhere and all at once, and before you know it you’re enveloped in a sound that is surprisingly passionate and somewhat unexpected.

“With my first EP I wanted to show different sides of my musical output, whilst keeping to the spectrum of club music” says Luca. “I seem to have found myself involved with so many different projects in recent times… it was liberating to be left to roam free.” he continues. That sense of exploration translates clearly throughout Mariri, but despite experimenting with a range of markedly different sounds, Cazal balances the EP’s divergence by keeping the focus of all the tracks entirely on the dance floor, regardless of the genre.

Beautifully illustrating Crosstown Rebels’ forward thinking and individualistic approach to music, Mariri offers a stunning peak into an artist’s personal voyage of self-discovery.

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