HNQO & Rolldabeetz
When Jamie Jones hammers one of your tracks at Timewarp festival, it's a proud moment, whether you're a seasoned producer or a rising star. It's even more special when you're only 22, and your music landed on Russ Yallop's lap only a few months before. That's precisely the story of HNQO, who, along with friends Fabo and Pako, are primed to make a splash on the international house music scene. Their label, Playperview, run from hometown Curitiba, Brazil, released its latest installment, "About Us," on May 15th. Featuring bouncy bass lines, ruggedly processed vocals, and a heavy slice of hip-hop groove, the EP shines a spotlight on these talented new faces.
"About Me" is a blend of classic house, hip-hop, and modern techy synths. It comes with a message from singer Lostcause: "You better get to know." The most hard-hitting, four-to-the-floor track of the EP, its singular aim is to set the dancefloor alight. A heavily processed vocal sample cuts in and out of an organ riding up and down some classic house chords. The percussion is simple and effective, sitting expertly besides a heavy, hooking bassline. This is the kind of track that, appropriately, makes heads turn in the club.
"It Doesn't Really Matter," from Rolldabeetz (aka Fabo and Paco) is a daring adventure through dark, deep house and something else altogether. While the track builds on a simple house shuffle and minimal bass line, strange techy elements (one sounding like a muffled scream) appear and then fade away into the groove. The haunted nature of the track maintains its dancefloor-friendly rhythm, leading into a breakdown at 2:40 where everything cuts out, save for a blaring lazer-lead line and gong. As the track plunges back into the kick drum and expertly syncopated percussion, you can't help but admire it's cheekiness. After all, it's hard to pull off a tune that sounds like a ride through a haunted house, but makes you want to dance at the same time.
If every track on this EP were a person, HNQO's "I Saw Your Face," would be the quieter, more seductive relative of "About Me." Featuring the trademark pumping bass sounds of the latter, along with an arsenal of shakers and hi hats, the track is restrained and deep instead of explosive. Carroll's vocals recall the off-kilter, slightly off-key sound popularized by Art Department, and they are used to solid effect as she croons the title lyrics over the breakdown. The maturity showcased on this track highlights HNQO's breadth as a producer, and is surely a promise of things to come.
Finally, the EP is rounded off by a homage to hip-house (or the newly dubbed hip-hop/house genre "G House"), with Fabo's "Club" featuring Nate Monoxide. The bassline again sits front and center, serving as both the groove-maker and lead line, with filter variations throughout the song to keep it fresh. Synths wash over and under the beats while the vocals add some classic club energy. Various drum fills permeate the track, with cymbals and crashes galore. Like "I Saw Your Face," "Club" favors restrain, and manages a moody, sexy vibe while keeping heads nodding.
It has already received support from the likes of Dyed Soundorom, Kolombo, Popof, Amine Edge and Fur Coat. Overall, HNQO, Fabo, and Rolldabeatz manage to create an eminently dance-able EP with "About Us," while at the same time exploring sonic ground by incorporating less common percussive and synth elements. Look out for much more to come from these fresh Brazilian talents.
Purchase the new EP exclusively on Beatport here.
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