- After releasing EPs for Binh and Vera's labels, Luca Cara (AKA Spacetravel) has been brought into the Perlon fold. A major aspect of his style is his drum programming, which tends to be quite swung, especially so on Dancing Therapy. Every second 16th-note just barely scrambles aside in time for the next hit, contributing to the tumbling fluidity that propels many of these productions. Another key trait is the wacky, almost carnivalesque character of Cara's tracks. Part of it is to do with his penchant for chattering, chromatic melodies that sit among the drums, adding an undercurrent of mania to the crab-wise shuffle. And then there's his ability to make recognisable synth patches into something strange through contrasting timbres and unusual sequencing. His productions are subtly complex yet immediately danceable.
While Cara's at home in the Perlon stable, his overall aesthetic doesn't have the immaculate sheen that defines much of that label's output. Cara's tracks are noticeably performed on machines, full of the flaws and idiosyncrasies that constitute what's know as "analogue character." But the real-time workflow behind Dancing Therapy doesn't hold it back. Cara's is dexterous with his machines. The drum fills, synth modulations and FX flourishes complement his knack for pacing and structure.
There's a lot going on in Dancing Therapy when you get into the nuts and bolts of each track. On "Collective Change," swung, white-noise hats skip on top of a lurking synth patch, which itself has some weird filter modulation adding a polyrhythmic sense of movement. Then a quivering, LFO'd synth with an almost hardcore-esque menace enters with a down-pitched, mangled vocal—but the whole mood shifts when a buoyant pad enters as drum sequences duck and dive. "Random Bass" is similarly bristling with action. The titular bassline is rhythmically propulsive yet harmonically intricate, its movements mirrored and accentuated by midrange lead lines and tom patterns. A quicksilver pad is sensitively deployed to give some melodic context to the randomised bass sequences, adding up to a kooky layer cake of elements.
To some ears, two 12-inches worth of this sort of thing might sound a little redundant. The format is definitely aimed at DJs, as each track offers a slightly different angle of approach without being especially varied (the mentally disturbed electro of "Strange City" being an obvious exception). But the distinctive sound design makes for an interesting listening experience off the dance floor as well. Despite the overload of details, Dancing Therapy's overriding factor is definitely groove, and this combination of quirk and funk is its central strength.
01. Kill Divas
02. Collective Change
03. Random Bass
04. Run Way
05. Ice Man
06. Strange City
07. Abduction 130
08. Mr Waldorf