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Pellegrino pres. Zodyaco - Caucciù (Early Sounds Recordings, 2020)

Tropical goodness reaches new heights with a formidable boogie masterclass from the Early Sounds head honcho.

Some labels truly do know how to curate a vibe, a serious serious vibe. Since 2012, Early Sounds have been doing just that. Inspired much by the significance and brilliance of Italian music from the 1970s onwards, the label has been pushing a new aesthetic into the world that very much feels rooted in the context and musical heritage of the country. The sound is filled to the brim with synth goodness, layered warmth that runs right through to the bone, and a level of musical technicality that is hard to find else ware. The label has consistently crafted brilliant music, that always lands within their shared vision of a brighter world, along with shining a huge light on the past, what has inspired it. Their releases have crafted a wonderful link between the past and today, with some fantastic reissues lining up alongside proper decent heaters from the current crop of producers and musicians on its roster. The label has really put the contemporary Italian scene on the map, and made it a mainstay for those looking for quite simply some of the finest music going. Some selected excellence on the label includes the numerous Mystic Jungle and Nu Guinea releases, arguebly two of the bigger names to emerge from the scene; be sure to check out 'The Tony Allen Experiments' by Nu, along with 'Qvisisana' by the Jungle, both of which demostrate the groups abilities to bottle up the Mediterranean sound and deliver it around the world. Other selected releases include Qvark's self titled release/reissue of sorts from 2018, Ed Longo & Applied Arts Ensemble's excellent 'The Other Fantasy' record from last year, along with their two compilations, 'Napoli Segreta Volume 1', that shines a light on lesser known Napolitean funk tunes from the 70s and 80s (all of which is brilliant), along with the 'IES - Italian Erotic Sounds', that showcases some awesome tunes that were inspired by the Italian comedy scene. All of it is great, it is definitely worth the time.

And now we arrive at their latest release, Pellegrino's second outing on the label, with his new single, 'Zodyaco - Caucciù'. His first release, 'Zodyaco' was a wonderful trip through the full Italian full band experience, where rich tapestries of silky funk and groove were blended into cuts that mesmerised and turned heads at every corner. It was the kind of release that validated the labels view of music, a record with blinding brilliance and excessive re playability, we only dreamt of what the man would be capable of producing next. And now, the wait is over. His new single is very much a progression of his first release on the label, but more a snapshot than a series of drawn out compositions. Pellegrino condenses all the magic that occurred on the mini LP into two singular bolts of lighting that will make you wish you had the tunes playing every time the sun was shining. The energy, the layering, the vibes, are all so beautiful and ever lasting, we take it all in and allow it to extend on into the night. So lets take a dip.

First up we have 'Caucciù (Damecuta Version)', and we begin with the fullness of it all. The drums groovin, the wavy synth work interplaying with the guitar work, which is extraordinary. The fullness that the track builds up to from the off is brilliant, moving from the slightly more stripped back intro and morphing into something extra special. The synths float elegantly above the beat, whilst lovingly placed piano intersects the riddim to create a melodic base few could rival for its intricacies and its groove. The song adds in the guitar, and some beautiful vocals that signify a move forward, the guitar becoming more choppy and rhythmic, as additional synths add to the swelling nature of the track. As the track organically grows, it becomes stripped back, with the riddim taking over, with added congas, drums and steel drums creating a break from the gods. The synth takes over, driving the tune to new and dynamic places. It provides an important breather to the track, allowing all the elements to come right back into place, the groove now solidified, aligned with the synth. Now we are in true classic territory.

The flip side contains the Migliera Version of the same track. It begins off with the drums and keys moving back and to the side, allowing soft chords and beautiful guitar work to move through the middle. Its a wonderful intro, soft and summery, and executed to perfection in terms of composition. It certainly provides that alternative feel to the flip side of the record. Vocal work is more prominent in this take on the track, that then descends into some oh so familiar high end keys, that act alongside the guitar to create instrumental rhythm. The track then descends through some wonderful movements, channelling all the spirit of the scene through its effortlessly funky goodness. This one feels very much like reflecting on the past, with key work very reminiscent of early 80s boogie and modern soul, but injecting some newer tropes into proceedings, like those lovely key interludes and the use of brass instruments to continually add texture. With both tracks, its the careful blend of numerous instruments that add to the overall quality of the tunes. Just wonderful, as per.

We always look forward to an Early Sounds release. Its always guaranteed good times, smiles all round, and great vibes that soundtrack all the sunny days and warm evenings. This latest one is no exception, and just takes the label into new realms, one where the progression just seems to build with every release. Pellegrino applies a masterful touch to his work, and its this craftmanship and passion that really burns through this release, right into our souls as we dance the night off. A proper gem right here.

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