Steve Pepe’s ‘Danza Moderna’ takes cues of all Manuel Cascone’s musical experiences (from no wave to weird pop, from sound scores to abstract ethno music and even children’s music) and puts them “inside the big container called dance music trying to demolish some of its automatisms”. The result is seven tracks that feel too alive to enclose them in a genre. Music that’s playful and transcendental at the same time, with the kind of natural and effortless feel that’s so hard to achieve. The path to it, indeed, wasn’t an easy one. Cascone had always had the Steve Pepe project in mind. But, as he admits, the need of having a studio where to produce music full-time took him to “several disastrous solutions and a lot of logistic and legal problems”. Having been a fixture of the underground scene of Rome since the mid-2000s, two years ago he finally found a proper space in the city’s suburbs where he could develop his electronic music experiments. The starting point was to eliminate everything he considered overrated. The list included Ableton live, samplers, effects, drones, modular systems, loop stations and straight kicks. Synchronizing two drum machines and two synthesizers, the first incarnation of the project only existed as a live set. But when he decided to start recording, everything changed. In his own words, all of it “sounded weak and pointless”. He then reconsidered things a bit. He expanded the tempo ranges and inserted tape echoes, added more melodic synth lines and a flute to finally found the sound he had been chasing. ¿Does this mean he has succeeded? Not really. In the end, and as he puts it, “the languages needed for sharing ideas necessarily rely on the rules of understanding”. Maybe we should add that it’s not necessary to understand something in order to enjoy it.
HVN047 – Steve Pepe
Release Date: June 1, 2018