ALBUM: Patterns - EP
ARTIST: Piri Piri
Etymologically derived from a type of spice also known as the African bird’s eye chili, Piri Piri have unveiled a selection of hot-headed dance-tracks that match the artists’ namesake in their mixable nature and zest. But, unlike the oft-guided use of peppers, producers Joe and Christopher provide no recipe: throwing a piquant array of sounds and rhythms together to serve up a three-course meal in club music. Their flavors are not entirely arbitrary however, and though all three of their original cuts differ vastly in tone and style (if not tempo), Patterns EP manages to preserve the duo’s preference for weighty beats and tactile melodies throughout. Therefore, despite conforming to some formalistic structures in dance music, Piri Piri are not genre-chameleons. Instead, the producers explore disparate colors only to construct their own brand of intelligent headbangers.
Hailing individually from Spain and England, one might speculate that Piri Piri’s diverse sound palettes are a product of their geographies. But the album counters this notion by painting unusual scenes, unifying thematic-genres and borders far-flung from their origins. The first tune, “Peak,” rolls wildly through industrial techno and tropical house textures; playing out as a heated exchange between metal strikes and wooden congas. Whereas its precusor, “Ice Cream” (featuring London-based Sally Crumb), sinks jagged glassy synths into a retro rhythm and bass groove, transforming into some vampiric disco. Piri Piri therefore produce quite a heterogeneous mixture on Patterns EP, pieced together with heavy percussions, offhand samples and pitched drum-rolls filtering in and out of the track. While the last original on the EP, the subaqueous “Quest,” also stirs these ingredients in, it provides a thoughtful break from the rigid bodily instructions given by its precursors.
This album never lingers for long, fluently arranging layer upon layer to ensure that its listeners stay motivated. Most of these energies are concentrated in the texture and rhythm, so those who do not enjoy intricate percussive lines might want to give this album a skip. Otherwise, it is the minutiae that make Piri Piri’s productions so gripping: intelligently tweaking phrases with each iteration, adding and subtracting substances to extract different expressions of the beat or increase the pace of their attack. Such is the economic use of elements in Piri Piri’s songs that merely accentuating its different parts constitutes linear motion. Patterns, though, is not entirely minimalist, nonetheless the duo manage to maintain the integrity of each component no matter how cluttered the framework becomes.
Despite the professional production quality, there is a childish joy in experimentation that directs the album—indeed, the two producers are quite young, having dropped their debut Manifesto EP on Sounds of Sumo only two years before. In contrast, this effort reveals a level of maturation but still seems to draw from adolescent caprice: a sense of unbridled exploration infuses itself into their compositions, free to wander through curious soundscapes and dislocated spaces. When combined with a deft hand in production, this spirit of adventure is infectious, offering an explanation for Piri Piri’s steady ascendance in the London club scene. That their sophomoric release should mark the relaunch of the excellent Belgian Silverback Recordings Imprint is certainly a testament to the duo’s well-deserved hype.
Indicative of their gains in traction, Patterns is finished-off with remixes from a host of talented and (relatively) prominent artists: Parisian colleague Jean Nipon, Sound Pellegrino affiliate Matthias Zimmermann, grime-revisionist Visionist, and recent Boiler-room feature Neana. Though their versions provide some variation to Piri Piri’s strut, it is difficult to match the South Londoners’ mesmerizing ferocity. Neana’s messy scramble of “Quest” definitely deserves a listen though, while Visionist puts a decidedly grimy spin on “Ice Cream.” Neglecting these tracks would be unfair, but it is more telling of Piri Piri’s compelling force that a serious remix cast does not steal the limelight. Patterns EP thus presents a riveting collection of eclectic and intelligent designs by two exciting figures in the London club scene. It is true that their techniques are by no means unfamiliar to music producers, but the duo do breathe fresh air into dance music that can, at times, suffer from formulas and an overbearing desire to maximize the “bump” in each tune.
“Here we go again”