Dario Aiello’s first EP for NuNorthern Soul as My Friend Dario, Cosmic Sailing, was one of the label’s most inspired releases of 2020 – a six-track musical voyage into the unknown that cannily combined elements of Balearic disco, ambient, turn-of-the-90s Italian dream house, horizontal jazz-funk and colourful synth-boogie.
With such strong musical motifs and instrumentation to work with, NuNorthern Soul boss Phil Cooper decided to ask some well-established producers and friends-of-the family to put their own spin on the Sicilian producer’s EP. The result is Cosmic Sailing Remixed, a four-track set of reworks that takes Aiello’s mesmerising, atmospheric and enveloping cuts to whole new musical places.
Crazy P’s Chris Todd dons his now familiar Hot Toddy guise for an EP-opening revision of ‘Neve Su Acireale’. Todd makes the most of Aiello’s Pat Metheny style jazz guitar motifs, teasing the track in via an ambient intro that recalls both the Orb’s earliest singles and Steve Reich classic ‘Electric Counterpoint’. After building tension through loose-limbed, progressively more intense drum fills, Todd unleashes a glorious Balearic disco groove that carries the track forwards towards a blissful conclusion.
Sometime Music For Dreams, Hell Yeah recordings and Leng contributor Willie Graff steps up next, brilliantly re-imagining ‘Fenice’ as a hypnotic and bass-heavy chunk of Balearic dub disco rich in layered, samba-style percussion, glistening electric guitar motifs and fluid synthesizer flourishes. Later in the track, Graff introduces more elements from Aiello’s original track – twinkling pianos and dream house style aural textures for starters – before adding touches of tape delay to emphasize the track’s dubby dancefloor mood.
Those seeking extremely immersive, mood-enhancing music will be thrilled by Blair French’s tactile, sunrise-ready take on ‘Malvisa’. The Detroit-based musician and soundtrack composer draws heavily on the kaleidoscopic but mellow synthesizer textures of Aiello’s original version while continually adding new layers of percussion and electronic melodies. The result is a swirling, calming remix that should delight home listeners and slow-motion dancers alike.
To round off the EP, Balearic synth-pop specialist James Bright puts his creative stamp on ‘Storm’. In keeping with the warm, tactile and synthesizer-heavy sound of his superb debut album on !K7, Headroom, Bright re-frames the most atmospheric cut on Aiello’s EP and a yearning, heart-aching journey through slow-motion acid lines, twinkling pianos, huggable synth-pop grooves and the kind of sustained chords that feel like they’re wrapping your body in a toasty blanket made of the finest cashmere. It provides a poignant, jaw-dropping conclusion to a high-quality set of imaginative and kaleidoscopic remixes.
A1 Neve Su Acireale - Hot Toddy Remix
A2 Malvasia - Blair French Remix
B1 Fenice - Willie Graff Remix
B2 Storm - James Bright Remix