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MY FRIEND DARIO

My Friend Dario

Desertico / Sunset Outro

My Friend Dario is back on Hell Yeah this August with more of his low tempo, high-temperature dance floor bombs. Dario has been carefully nurtured by label head Marco over the course of a few fresh EPs in the last year. Just before this EP lands he will release on Nu Northern Soul, and earlier in the year he served up a stunning live set at the foot of iconic volcano Etna, so is very much part of the current wave of Balearic tastemakers.

Opener 'Desertico' has already been caned by ALFOS chief Sean Johnston who recognises the power of its heavyweight chug. Over the course of nearly ten minutes and two epic breakdowns, the tune builds on supple techno pulses, with tense synth phrases keeping you in suspense before the drop brings a sense of tropical rain and thunder.

'Sunset Outro' was the last track from his live set and gets your heady amongst the clouds. The churning drums, wooden hits and lush chords are dreamy yet heavy and have an effortlessly hypnotic effect that will lock in any dance floor.

These two tunes prove My Friend Dario can do no wrong right now.

TRACK LISTING

A1 – Desertico
B1 - Sunset Outro

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.

TRACK LISTING

A1 Neve Su Acireale - Hot Toddy Remix
A2 Malvasia - Blair French Remix
B1 Fenice - Willie Graff Remix
B2 Storm - James Bright Remix

Based in the Sicilian coastal city of Catania, Dario Aiello has plenty of chances to longingly stare into the endless deep blue of the Ionian Sea. It should therefore come as no surprise that his debut EP for NuNorthern Soul, Cosmic Sailing, is a six-track musical daydream about a kaleidoscopic sea voyage into the unknown.

Although his recording career as My Friend Dario is still in its infancy, Aiello has already made an impact. He won plaudits from Balearic-minded Bandcamp diggers for a string of self-released singles, before offering up a handful of inspired remixes and tracks on a number of releases on the admirably saucer-eyed Hell Yeah! Recordings imprint. Even so, his NuNorthern Soul debut is a big development, portraying him as an accomplished producer and musician with a gift for crafting colourful and inventive musical fusions.

Across the course of six tracks, Aiello perfectly sets out his mellow, warming, spacious and mind-soothing approach, smoothly navigating cosmic waters. Opener ‘Fenice’ sets the tone, with the Sicilian producer cloaking rising and falling synthesizer arpeggio lines in twinkling piano motifs, simmering chords and colourful electronic motifs. He channels the spirits of Italy’s turn-of-the-90s dream house movement and horizontal Balearic disco on the impeccable ‘Malvasia’, while ‘Mr Mellow’ sees him mix-up post-electro beats, pots-and-pans percussion and starry electronics to great effect.

Aiello’s varied inspirations come to the fore across the reminder of the EP. Check, for example, the rubbery and undeniably intergalactic 21st century boogie bounce of ‘Neve Su Acireale’, where Pat Metheny style jazz guitar flourishes, sparkling synth riffs and elastic slap-bass notes dance around a snappy, early ‘80s drum machine groove.

‘Campagna 2’ goes further, with the Italian smothering a deliciously crunchy drumbeat with warming chords and looped sax samples, while ‘Storm’ sees him calming choppy waters via fluid, slow-motion piano solos, sleepy beats, enveloping musical textures and a handful of atmospheric samples. It’s a breath-taking end to an EP chock full of evocative, ear-pleasing aural treats.

TRACK LISTING

A1. Fenice
A2. Malvasia
A3. Mr Mellow
B1. Neve Su Acireale
B2. Campagna 2
B3. Storm

Hell Yeah call upon their merry crew of grown up groove makers to revisit key tracks from Quiroga's widely acclaimed Passages album, with Whodamanny, Jazz N Palms, A Vision of Panorama and My Friend Dario all stepping up.

The original album was noted as Piccadilly Records' Best Balearic Album of 2019 and a year on is still providing solace for us in these strange times. First to add his own spin to it is Periodica associate Whodamanny from Naples, whose magical take on 'Martinica Feelings' made it onto the excellent recent Buena Onda compilation, which is out now. It is a big hearted vocal reinterpretation filled with stomping kicks and twisted synths that bring the funk next to withering sci-fi effects and happy piano chords.

Then, up steps man of the moment Jazz N Palms, a resident at the cult Ibiza venue Pikes and regular at London's Ronnie Scotts. He has recently started his own self titled label and here offers a mad Latin jazz take on 'Africa Addio' that brims with energy and sunshines. The busy percussion will make you move your ass and the whole thing has a sexy 70s vibe.

Saint Petersbourg's very own balearic legend A Vision of Panorama is hailed as the king of the modern balearic sound thanks to EPs on labels like Omena. He takes care of 'The Zoist' with sentimental melodies and sunset grooves to die for. His arching pads speak to the soul and melt the heart.

Last of all, Hell Yeah's very own discovery My Friend Dario (who soon has an EP coming on NuNorthern Soul, recently remixed Calm and Gallo) tackles 'Chiaia Sunset'. The result is a laidback and cathartic track that slowly unfolds on tumbling drums and wooden hits as synths leave vapour trails high up in the clear blue sky above.

These are four more high class remixes that will keep the summer vibes alive long into Autumn.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: My pick for best Balearic record of 2019 returns in remix form here, with a quartet of top musical talents taking on Quiroga's amazing 'Passages'. It's an all styles, all flavours affair with Whodamanny's Neapolitan funk rubbing shoulders with the Latin interpretation of Jazz N Palms on the A-side, while dreamy Balearic interpretations come from A Vision Of Panorama and My Friend Dario on the flip.

TRACK LISTING

A1. Martinica Feelings (Whodamanny Reinterpretation)
A2. Africa Addio (Jazz N Palms Remix)
B1. The Zoist (A Vision Of Panorama Remix)
B2. Chiaia Sunset (My Friend Dario Remix)

The first set of remixes of Calm’s By Your Side got plenty of props for sound quality as well as their ability to get people grooving. Now the label serves up some more remixes, this time from legendary figures Mark Barrott (international Feel) and My Friend Dario.

Up first is Barrott, the long time slow motion master whose downtempo, ambient, new age and electronic fusions very much set out the Balearic template way back in the nineties. ‘Space Is My Place’ (Mark’s Re<>Imagination to the Sacred Heart Center) is an enchanting and tropical reworking with exotic percussion and liquid drums that gentle sway to and fro like a raft at sea. It’s another escapist, transportive track from Barrott that takes you to the other side of the world.

My Friend Dario returns to Hell Yeah after his exquisite Calamari Fritti EP late last year with more of his worldly infused sounds. His Etna Vision of ‘Shadows and Lights’ is a glistening affair with loosely jumbled drums and romantic keys that ring out into a balmy night sky. It’s musical and blissful as always with this artist.

Once again here Hell Yeah have come through with your most essential summer sounds.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Piccadilly's Balearic LP of 2018 continues to extend its ecstasy with a second volume of remix joy. This time round Mark Barrott of International Feel fame cooks up a cosmic chugger with all manner of chakra aligning idents and trippy blips, while My Friend Dario (best name in music?) goes deep and dreamy with an expansive house mix which shifts gears through nuanced congas, meditative breakdowns and energetic acid.

TRACK LISTING

A1. Space Is My Place (Mark Barrott’s Re<>Imagination To The Sacred Heart Center)
B1. Shadows And Lights (My Friend Dario's Etna Breeze Remix)


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