Hernán Cattáneo: Balance Sudbeat Review

Hernán Cattáneo: Balance Sudbeat
Review by Sarah Ikerd

Every picture you see of Hernán Cattáneo he appears either placidly serious or lucidly happy, the bodhisattva of mixologists. And you could say his saintly patience for blending tracks comes from the maturity of age, but he's been mixing like that his entire career. His fundamental aesthetic hasn't changed. He's carried the torch for transcendent style progressive house for about three decades.

Cattáneo's latest Sudbeat two part mix is elongated, because that's his forte, the style conducive to a calm, patient state of mind. It isn't in a hurry to get where it's going. It's a different sort of party than one with extreme highs and lows. This sounds like the extroversion of introspection.

The mix opens with ambient sounds then rolls into Doors style organ as if we're descending upon wherever in the world Cattáneo is flying. It's soothing, restrained. The bass rich kick gathers just enough steam to sound like spiritual sex in the soul hotel. There are beautiful rewards along the way, like when Ben Shaw's "Above The Clouds" emerges and morphs into "Elegy" by Conures. The first half indeed flows together like one, with the movement of "Everest" to "Embers" imperceptible because they're so complimentary.

Both parts feature exclusives from Cattáneo's Sudbeat label. "Fantasy" with Soundexile (Oliverio Sofia & Pablo Alejandro Carr), also from Buenos Aires and frequent collaborators, lauds the imagination. "Closer" is another collaboration of theirs, and builds a mystique that climbs into "Savannah" by Nick Warren & Tripswitch.

The second half is the continued soundtrack of an open-ended pilgrimage, with bending sitar and a faster tempo. Gradually it delves deeper with mysterious earthy percussion and a galloping beat. Standout tracks are "Imma" by Audio Junkies & Lonya and "Deneb" by Cattáneo & Soundexile. All the selections are pleasant individually, but better together.

What more is there to say except the overall progression is exquisite. "El Maestro's" treatment of harmonies and words imply a spiritual depth of presence. Like other upper echelon "Renaissance Masters," he's in it for life, and encourages other artists as well.

There's a rebirth of progressive house happening and it's anything but dated. It was always the island sound of utopia, which hasn't arrived to the rest of the world yet. This is what Hernán Cattáneo perpetuates in dance music.