Filippo Moscatello: Pagliaccio

Sicilian-born, Berlin-based Italian Filippo Moscatello, the artist formally known as DJ Naughty, issues his sophomore album under his birth name on Sasse's Moodmusic imprint. Moscatello supposedly laid the Naughty alias to rest a year ago along with whatever electro associations that go along with it, but electro repeatedly surfaces throughout Pagliaccio albeit as one part of a broadened techno and house mix. And what's wrong with that? All it means is that the outcome will be all the richer for it and, true enough, we're treated to an hour's worth of solid club-based material where electro, house, Italo, funk, and techno smoothly intertwine.

“Uno” serves up a mix of bubbly electro bounce, bleepy funk, and rumbling techno with even a bit of Latin Vibraslap punctuation added for extra spice. “World of a Woman” (in fact released under the Naughty guise last year on Moodmusic) pushes things into an almost Booka Shade-like zone with minimal melodies dancing over a swinging base—until, that is, Italo-esque synth flourishes light it up like a night-time carousel at the midway. Electro and Italo are heard even more prominently in the cowbells and acidy synth patterns that bubble through “More Oder,” after which Moscatello lays it on thick and fast in the snappy “Loft Co Loco,” a sinuous dance-funk workout that gets your attention with its seductive main melody, and “Slave to the Dub,” a slamming electro-house workout that's got no qualms about getting filthy. Some aspire to be nothing more than straight-up club tracks, such as the relentless pumper “Furio” and the acid-deep house workout “Houz” (replete with shredded voiceover “What is house music?”); others reveal a more ambitious conceptual reach in play (working a thumb piano and voice stutters into the low electro-bass rumble of “Kleinmond,” for example). Don't let the cover's weeping clown face fool you: Pagliaccio's high-spirited material is clearly more in keeping with the mischievous grin Moscatello sports on the back.

March 2009