Diego Azocar – Homenaje / Technology (Juicebox Music)

Praveen Achary’s Juicebox Music was launched in March of this year. A short 9 months later and the label is now undoubtedly one of the most recognizable imprints to come out of India’s booming electronic music culture. As 2013 draws to a close we find Juicebox with their 5 overall release which is also the labels biggest project to date. It features the debut of Diego Azocar to the label with a brand new EP which includes remixes from Alex Nemec & Nik Feral and Demian Moreno.

Diego hails from Argentina and I first heard about him when Hernan Cattaneo played his ‘Recall’ production (released on Baires Records) at Creamfields, Buenos Aires in 2012. That was well over a year ago now and Diego has been very quiet on the production front since with just one remix project on Rezongar Music released in July of this year. Praveen Achary and Juicebox Music have somehow managed to get two brand new originals from Diego entitled ‘Homenaje’ and ‘Technology’ which make up this fabulous double a-side release. After one listen to the lead track ‘Homenaje’ it’s no surprise that Hernan Cattaneo heads up the support list on it. The effortless hypnotic nature of the production seems almost tailor made for the legendary DJ. There is an interesting tension which flows the through piece that makes it (along with a deep chugging groove) quite ideal for a contemporary peak time slot. The shifting harmonics which gradually envelope over the first half of the record and ultimately carry on through the main break are delicate but at the same time quite dramatic. As the break develops the waning tension eventually gets washed away in favour of a gorgeous vocal pad and subtle piano which drops your guard just enough for the powerful groove to reappear. It’s a very well constructed break that ultimately makes the stellar second half seems just that much bigger.

The second original here ‘Technology’ is actually my favourite of the two. It’s quite a bit funkier than ‘Homenaje’ and comes with some remarkably cool melodic components. The groove still has that effortless glide that is quite sought after at the moment but the huge and well shaped bass stabs really give it an exceptional amount of groove. The gradual anticipatory build also weighs heavy here and the eventual reveal of the gleaming harmonics is quite an epic moment. Either way you’ve got two very strong originals from Diego and both will likely receive heavy play over the coming months. In an age of excessive over production I have to say that’s it’s quite refreshing to see Diego focusing on meaningful productions that are full of intricate detail and inner beauty which is something that the scene is for the most part missing.

The lone remix of ‘Homenaje’ comes from Alex Nemec & Nik Feral. This newly formed (mid 2013) production duo already have a nice discography of 9 originals and one remix over the course of the last six months. They’ve given ‘Homenaje’ a decidedly techier and perhaps even more tribal infused overhaul. The deliberate and drummy groove conjures up memories of Nalin & Kane’s ‘Beachball’ but that’s where the similarity ends. As the surroundings begin to take shape the bigger atmospheric elements from the original slowly get worked into the mix along with some great electronic hooks and buzzing hypnotics. This carries the record through to a sizable climax and the rhythmic elements that come to the forefront during that last quarter of the record actually up the energy which should be ideal for building a properly programmed set.

The lone remix of ‘Technology’ is supplied by Demian Moreno who has been much talked about this year. The Argentinean producer had his remix (under his Demian Deep alias) of Neftali Blasko ‘Time Traveller’ featured by Hernan Cattaneo on his Resident Delta FM radio show in June of this year. Since then Demian has gone on to deliver several more of his spacey atmospheric productions for 3rd Avenue, Bermudos, Suffused and Particles. For his interpretation of ‘Technology’ Demian has crafted what he calls a ‘Space Dub’ take on the track. It’s an appropriate title as it certainly falls into the sonically blissed out category. The wonderfully sequenced bells cascade across the tough foundation early on and provide a worthy hypnotic component. This ultimately sets up the introduction of bigger and more prominent harmonic elements that are incredibly heartfelt and work nicely with the cascading keys. The deeply moving drop brings things down nicely and provides perhaps even more emotional content to close the record out. I have to say that each track provides something quite special here and you’d be hard pressed to find a better release on Juicebox this year. Looking forward to seeing what Praveen does with the imprint in 2014, I’ve got a feeling there will be more special releases on the way.

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