- Dance floor sure shots with a post-punk twist.
- Massimiliano Pagliara credits Balihu head Daniel Wang with introducing him to the magic of synthesizers. "I went to Danny's place when we met back in 2004 or 2005, and he just told me, 'OK, this is a synthesizer, and you can do this and this.' And I was like, 'Wow, that sounds nice, and looks nice, too,'" he recalled back in 2015. Wang is a fervent advocate of infusing dance music with the sumptuous musicianship of disco, railing against what he sees as lazy sampling and programming to the extent that that Gerd Janson once asked him if he feels like Don Quixote fighting against windmills.
I think the early influence of Wang's philosophies—as well as other disco-influenced house producers like Nebraska and Recloose—is key to Pagliara's beloved status within European dance music, which includes key DJ residencies at Robert Johnson and Panorama Bar. In that same Machine Love interview, Pagliara referred to the computer-aided part of production as the "most boring step." Adept at producing and playing floor-fillers, Pagliara is ultimately concerned with making functional tracks with a human touch.
This winning balance is more apparent than ever on Connection Lost, Pt. 3, the latest in a series of EPs for Uncanny Valley that spans back to 2015. The opener starts off as a heavy acid track. Most producers would be satisfied with that, but Pagliara introduces a Liquid Liquid-style post-punk bassline halfway through. At the end of the jacking, melodic house rave-up "Forgotten Secrets," there's a little keyboard flourish that fades into cosmic delay, as if Pagliara is saying, yes, we're here, playing keys, turning knobs. Don't forget.
The core of "Iridescent Solitude" is an Orbital-style rave stab, which Pagliara uses as the jump-off point for a disco house odyssey. Another musical mentor of Pagliara's, Jules Etienne, eventually comes in on Nile Rodgers-style guitar, once again introducing a welcome human element to this set of superb modern dance tracks.
02. Forgotten Secrets
03. Iridescent Solitude
04. The Empty Room