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Peter Raou - SkagBoys Begin EP (RJWMachines, 2021)



Our man from Modena does it again on yet another stunning display of organic house, with both cuts recorded live and with zero editing for that spontaneous and enriching character.


House comes in many shapes and forms, but when it comes straight out of the machines - and particularly when the person making it clearly shares a deep affinity with the hardware - there's a certain magic to to the music that cannot be found in overly produced pieces. Alessio Corni is certainly a producer who wears his heart on his sleeve, with the House that he comes up with a homage to the methods of old but with bags of feeling and character thrown in for good measure, meaning the tunes found on his releases always cut straight to the heart and the mind. Fills aplenty, deep chordal arrangements and a slight leaning towards the quirky, Corni's sound remains very much looking forward, challenging the perceptions that transitions should be easily attained but instead he always find ingenious ways of making the flow between differing segments incredibly interesting. This approach has come from his avid affection for the hardware that he uses, with the raw potential of such machines shining through on every single cut he has released, a celebration almost of everything that drum machines and synthesisers are capable of. When you throw a wide reaching vision into the mix, then you have a recipe for longevity and success, and with every record that comes our way from Corni, we are always pleasantly surprised with what he cooks up. His style really does infuse the bold ideals of the Chicago era, where snares frequently cut through the main groove as expressive hi hats flourished amongst the foundations, with deep chordal arrangements sprinkled on top in a myriad of ways that are part Chi-Town and part 90s Detroit. As discographies go, Corni's is incredibly strong, with a number of aliases being utilised to help push forward his agenda, such as MHCrew, Raou, Raoh and the mysterious Peter Raou, all of which channel his forward thinking and organic approach to House music. There's plenty to highlight from his discography if you haven't already, starting off with the Italo House themed '424 Live' record, that features some memorable melodic sequences all set within a sea of impressive rhythmic frequencies; the emotive and deeply impactful feels that reside within the 'RJWM' record, his most expansive to date yet, which arrived last year under the Raoh name; and finally, the exquisite notions that make up the double tracker 'SkagBoys House', one of our favourite releases from last year, and one that really set Corni up on his current musical direction under the illusive Peter Raou alias. Corni has also features on compilation records on Inhale Exhale Records and Bogoture Records, which are both well worth checking out. Peter returns yet again with his latest record, 'SkagBoys Begin', which again features two tracks of the highest quality, and where the exchange was made we will never know. From the off you just know that Corni has bought his A game, with plenty of expressiveness injected into the mix in providing us with yet another dynamic to get to know, with time taken to build things up before unleashing a torrent of energy upon us. Both tracks were recorded live, and with that comes a sense that we are being carried along for the ride, standing alongside Peter as he places his fingers down on the keys and the drum machines, standing back in awe of the natural chemistry that comes about from a person and an affinity with hardware. It just makes the results that little bit more impressive, as Corni follows his instincts down a well defined path, and magic just ensues from all corners of the productions. So, without further delay, lets dive right into this incredible two tracker, and let the brilliance flow forth.....


Up first comes 'Break Ya Party..ick!', and this one starts with the kick and the break sample lurking in the background. The lone chord provides some semblance of melody, but gives nothing away as we remain enticed by the percussive outlay being slowly unravelled before us, as snares begin to emerge through the centre, with Peter applying the filter to create subtle undulations. The bass then comes through very strong indeed, acting as a focal point for the rhythmic to react to, as a dual hi hat layer comes through to complete the ensemble, and by this point we are completely ensnared in the momentum. The density is carefully managed, with the break sample filtered out in order to provide space for the keys to come into view, which take the form of a rolling cascade that fills up the top half of the track excellently, and before long we are joined by the most emotive of pads that slides in underneath. The track then pauses, the kicks moving away to give space to this new chordal array, but before long we are thrown back into the drums and bass feel as the break sample comes back into view to get us moving. The initial key line returns soon after to keep our heads locked in, the bass introduced again not long after, with the emotive pads making one final foray into the mix, but their presence doesn't last for long as we move into the final phase of the plan, with the dancefloor being left with the drums to see out the night. Glorious stuff.


Up next comes 'MIDI Fantasy Island', and this one begins with the swings of the rhythm and the intermittent bass line to get us going. The groove is immediately welcoming, with the kicks propping up all manner of percussive elements, as the bass adds tremendously to the pulse, and before long additional hats get added into the mixture to really get the blood flowing. The bass line is joined by the main melodic outline, which consists of a glitchy undercurrent mixed together with uplifting top layer chords, the blend of which channels its way right into the soul and mind. A new sequence is added in the form of the repeating arpeggio key line, with its glass like chimes creating this gleaming sparkle to the cut, as string like chords start to cut through the undercurrent. The drums then take it down a little bit in order to provide breathing space, as a lone vocal sample emerges to provide further tonal quality, as we stand back a little bit in order to appreciate the wonderful flow that this track possesses, with the melodic layers effortlessly intermingling with one another. The kicks move away for the final time, as we see out the cut with the strings, the drums and the bass, and at the end of it all we are left with some delightful keys that dust away the cobwebs of the early morning, as the sun shines through between the trees. In the distance we see a figure, perhaps its Peter, who knows, but his gift to us is truly incredible.


Certain producers seem glued to their hardware, both physically and mentally, and this relationship really shines through when you hear it being played. Alessio Corni seemingly has a beautiful relationship with his hardware, and the House that he makes is truly invigorating on so many levels, be it the style he conjures up or the hybridised methods that he has mastered in order to come up with those styles. Either way you look at it, his music is indefinitely interesting and engaging, and this new release is no different, with both cuts showcasing to us how leading the process with your intuition can lead to incredible results. Both tracks feel alive, like audial organisms that grow and move with the passing of time, as elements move in and out of space with a deft control and creative vision, all of which can be led back to Corni and the way he makes music. Its the point where creation meets action, and you'll find yourself being blown away by the transitions, placement and layering of elements within these tracks, with the tracks showcasing how to lead with drumming patterns and how to led with melodic layers. Its just another triumph in his already impressive resume, and it keeps us wanting more, and more and more. Superb stuff, and if you're into House music, you need this in your life.


Support the troops:


https://raoul88.bandcamp.com/album/peter-raou-skagboys-begin-ep





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