Hector, A.G.E. EP

[20:20 Visions Recordings]


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Before releasing his first record or clerking for SoHo’s Phonica Records, Hector Murillo was a sought after DJ whose talent behind the decks helped him earn the later opportunities. The skills every good DJ needs — a strong sense of pacing, an ear for potent combinations, and the ability to read a dance floor — have greatly informed his productions. Murillo’s singles for Horizontal, Mobilee, 8bit and Phonica’s imprint, while lean on melody and flush with percussion, have been decidedly on-trend, fodder for DJs with audiences who can’t get enough bongo rolls or Latin flourishes. The A.G.E. EP, his first for Ralph Lawson’s 20:20 Vision label, puts aside Romantic touches in favor of heads down, DJ-friendly house grooves.

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Sonically this EP is aligned with the tracky, minimal-inclined releases of Oslo or Intacto more than 20:20 Vision’s more fleshed out catalog. Both in execution and style, its three tracks most resemble the percussive build and release at the heart of so many 2000 And One tracks and their quality is similarly uneven. Hector knows when to pull back and push forth on his galloping, garage house rhythms and organ pulses in “Not At The Moment,” generating tension behind the hand percussion, indistinct vocals and unexpected kick drum triplets that are swapped in. Indeed, there’s a bit of relief when the snares and bass strut back in to provide order — freestyle dance is over. “Hang On” is a bit simpler but even more effective, pairing back to rumbling bass, a chorus of vocal syllables (including the particularly agreeable “GO!”), and light percussion. It’s a tug of war on the dance floor between overflowing bass lines and persistent, almost nagging rhythms; the DJ hardly even needs to cut the bass, for better or worse. Despite some well laid percussion patterns, “A.G.E.” feels like it’s merely treading water, another barrage of vocal samples and steely organ notes that would hardly attract notice among other contemporary house tracks. The entire EP speaks clearest through a booming PA to an already sweaty dance floor, but its true appeal lies in whether or not its volte-face bass drops get you excited. And with “Hang On,” at the very least, it works for me.

squirts  on June 22, 2010 at 9:22 AM

I don’t understand why LWE is even reviewing this EP, it’s really boring & average. I’m guessing a brown envelope was slipped under someone’s door.

littlewhiteearbuds  on June 22, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Clearly Anton reviewed it because he found it at least somewhat interesting. Not every record that comes out is outstanding but that doesn’t mean they’re unworthy of being analyzed critically.

Anton  on June 22, 2010 at 9:41 AM

You should look at my other reviews, squirts. I like taking on records whose appeal isn’t obvious, especially within underground circles. It’s my goal as a critic to try and understand records that catch my ear, whether or not I love them, because they obviously appeal to SOMEONE. To me, that’s reason alone to review a record.

squirts  on June 24, 2010 at 3:57 AM

Ouch, I think I may have got out of my bed on the wrong side that morning…

Apologies for the strength of my words, I suppose it’s more a measure of the standards I hold you guys up to. LWE is one of my reference points for new releases, and I mostly agree with your occasionally harsh approach to reviewing.

@ Anton – I have a lot of time for your charts and reviews, hence my surprise at seeing this EP here :)

Anton  on June 24, 2010 at 9:49 AM

I hear you, squirts. There’s much more good stuff to come.

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