Re-UP: Nelcorpo

Though Re-UP's surnames-shy duo Leo and Omar have been working together for more than fifteen years, Nelcorpo is, surprisingly, their debut album. Making a reasonably appealing argument on behalf of their Re-UP project, the Italian producers have fashioned a dozen tracks into a flowing mix format that establishes the character of a carefully considered club set.

Sneaking up on the listener, Nelcorpo begins inauspiciously, coming surreptitiously into view and easing the listener into Re-UP's propulsive soundworld. The brief opener “Concrethereal” teases the ear with wisps of melody and rhythm before “Aju Paraplu” firms things up with a tight 4/4 pulse and trippy atmospheric touches; five minutes into the fifty-six-minute set, the listener is already locked into the duo's cozily seductive blend of house and techno.

Eschewing histrionics, the mix opts instead for understatement, and in doing so Nelcorpo feels rather like a physical embodiment of the club experience in the way it builds slowly and intensifies gradually. A typical tracks sees a stripped-down techno groove beefed up with a deep bass throb and sprinkled with various kinds of ear candy, such as percussive detail, dubby chords, and blurry voice-overs (typical of their character is the one in “Tribute,” which seemingly presents the dry musings of a scientific researcher on the effects of music on the listener).

Lean on hooks Nelcorpo might be, but it's also hard to deny the slinky snap'n'thrust of hard-groovers such as “6AM,” “Each Sense,” and “Two in a Row”; there's no shortage of jump (and even a bit of funk) in these jams. And so while no one will come away from Nelcorpo whistling one of its melodies, one does come away from it impressed by Re-UP's skilful handling of groove and pacing. The recording's amelodic character and restrained rhythmic design make it an excellent choice as both background music for a home party and as early mood-setting material at the club.

April 2015