El Device
Miguel Toro
Cadenza 35

All tracks produced by Miguel Toro for Cadenza Records. Published by Robidog Publishing / (p) & (c) Cadenza Records 2009. Mastered by Simon @ The Exchange, London. Distributed worldwide by www.wordandsound.net

Cadenza welcomes yet another new member into the fold with its 35th release. Hailing from Caracas, Venezuela, Berlin’s Miguel Toro brings an indisputably Latin touch to his productions, which of course fits perfectly with Cadenza’s aesthetic. In fact, Toro is no mere button-pusher, but a talented percussionist in his own right-throughout 2007, he even served as the accompanist for Samim’s rollicking live sets. But there’s far more than shakers and congas to set Toro’s work apart. Mutating the title of the Velvet Underground classic, “Sissteray” charges ahead with a pumping, rock-steady beat, with plenty of rolling hand percussion to supply the rhythmic nuance. The most notable hook are a pair of repeated vocal samples that hover just on the edge of intelligibility. The effect is like fusing the DNA of decades-old pop into the finely-tuned body of a contemporary drum track-resulting in a powerful “earworm” that glints and ripples like a lean, muscular snake. There’s a curious vintage feel to the track, from its jacking, no-nonsense rhythm to subtle touches of reverb that creak and hiss like a kicked amplifier. “Quassi” is slightly more laid back, but it still stomps like a herd of elephants heading for the watering hole. Toro’s percussive sensibilities are more on display here, with keenly syncopated woodblocks and metallic shakers galore; loose percussion gives the cut its essential “human” feel, with weird, polyrhythmic lines shaping an arc that never settles into four-bar predictability. The samples are nothing short of otherworldly, with garbled voices and gritty rumblings bubbling up from the background, while jewel-toned keyboards veer from a housey chug towards more fanciful lines of flight suggesting all-out space jazz. Despite the wealth of ideas, though, Toro always keeps it simple: every sound works in service of the all-important groove.

Cadenza 35