Maelstrom could be mistaken for the newest kid on the scene, coming out of nowhere and dropping releases on prestigious labels like Dirtybird and BNR Trax in less than one year, but in reality he’s far from being a kid, as a matter of fact he’s more of a daddy. And I mean this more in a ‘having a child’ way than in a ‘I’m house music’s daddy and I’m gonna make her my bitch’ way, except the latter is exactly what he’s about to do with his new “USSR” EP on Sound Pellegrino. Hailing from the quiet yet culturally effervescent city of Nantes, France, Maelstrom has been around for a while, operating in the shadow, DJing all around the world in various underground circles of no-joke techno and breaks. He also has a career as a more abstract UK bass producer under the name Joaan, crafting beautifully deep and haunting beats for 7even recordings. But the “USSR” EP is no deep and haunting business, this is a straightforward, raw and modern take on Miami bass and early electro with a techno twist made by a guy who’s experienced enough to have lived these scenes in their heyday. This is the music the Russian soldier girl in Elton John’s “Nikita” video likes to shake her booty to.
“USSR” is the more straightforward tracky beat of the bunch. Menacing and merciless like a musical machine gun execution, it also has a groove that says “hey chill this is just music, we ain’t killin anybody, now what are you waiting for, dance m*therf*cker!”, so at the end of the day, it’s all good. We at Sound Pellegrino are super proud to have obtained two brilliant remixes by two heroes of ours for “USSR”. First, The Hacker, whose impact on our lives as electronic music listeners is immeasurable. Whether it is through his classic albums with the goddess Miss Kittin where he defined the standard for dark electronic pop in the early 2000’s or his no-compromise electro material on the solo tip or in collaboration with this year’s big techno sensation (often seen as his protégé) Gesaffelstein, The Hacker always knows how to win our little techno hearts. He flips“USSR” into a serious deep Grenoble banger dripping with integrity and class. The second “USSR”remix is brilliantly executed by South African house music star Aero Manyelo. We’ve been in touch with Manyelo ever since he found out that we played one of his tracks on the Sound Pellegrino podcast. He immediately sent us a good portion of his huge catalog and we were blown away by his unique blend of house, finding influences in Kwaito riddims but also the trademark South African dark motor pitch shifting techno sounds. There’s no doubt his “USSR” remix, in all its originality and vicious efficiency, will be a dancefloor favorite.
Candidly titled “House Music”, the second track on the EP balances the darkness of “USSR” with a more light-hearted approach and a happier vibe. It also has a clear function for DJs: to serve as a transition from bass to four-to-the-floor house and vice-versa. Simple, functional, brilliant. DJ Dodger Stadium (Body High), Coni (Clek Clek Boom) and Boston Bun (known for his “Lean House” mixtape series) each deliver excellent remixes, Coni on a very deep, subaquatic, 9-minute long slow burner tip, Dodger Stadium in their trademark pumping gangster chicago underground construction 3.0 internetland hard house vibe and Boston Bun on a sexy sweaty macho backroom acid dance level.
Last but definitely not least, “Pool Chicks” is the gem of the EP. Like a steroid Sci-fi version of the purest old-school Miami Bass, channelling a pool party on mars hosted by cyborg 2 Live Crews and Tone Locs, “Pool Chicks” has ‘early contender for summer hit’ written all over it. When listening to those unidentified noises that punctuate the track, we’re still not sure if the title refers to girls at the pool or actual chicken being thrown in a swimming pool though.