- Back in 2010, New York veteran Henry Maldonado was looking for "a singer that channeled the likes of Chaz Jankel, Peter Brown and even Wham-era George Michael." He found one in Javi Silva—via Craigslist, of all places—and Native Underground was formed. Two years on, and we have Close, the duo's second record for UK label Under The Shade. As before, their modern take on disco is pretty hard to dislike.
"Close" itself starts out squeaky clean, with a chirpy Italo-inspired arp and one of those single-note-sustained-indefinitely pads riding in its wake. But further in, the growling low end starts to assert itself, aided by a line of frenzied hand drums and crunchy claps. It's a long, slow lather; one destined to get limbs flying by its busy end. Surprisingly, Silva's androgynous vocals aren't a huge feature, used more for dramatic emphasis than to induce a sing-a-long. Remixing under his Son of Sound moniker, Maldonado's dub is less demanding, drifting along via a set of soothing chords absent from the original. The touches of euphoric melody that are present now come in manageable bursts, rather than being piled on relentlessly.
With their remixes, both Alphabet City and Ben Pearce opt for a less uplifting sound, toning down some of the more flamboyant sections. In the former, electric piano replaces Maldonato's fluid arp and merrily tap-taps away amid feathery percussion. The latter sounds like a Steffi creation, helmed as it is by thick, domineering bass. With far less mid-range to compete with, here Silva's vocals really have a chance to shine, sounding ghostlier and more affective than before.
A2 Close (Alphabet City Mix)
B1 Close (Ben Pearce Remix)
B2 Close (Son Of Sound Dub)