Back in January, Costa Rican producer Giancarlo Renzi (aka Raido) kicked off his ambitious six-EP series Automatic/Manual with its first installment, the genre-hopping Automatic EP 1. Now based in Barcelona, Raido is back, but not without switching gears first. Manual EP 1, premiering today on Remezcla, is the second offering from the year-long series, and this time he deliberately took cues from the textbook of techno.
The tracks feature deep, earth-shaking low end and programmed beats whose mechanic patterns sound as if they came straight out of vintage drum machines. Raido always finds a way of infusing emotion into his music, and here he does so through delightful melodies and chord progressions matched with the right synthetic and evocative textures.
Take, for instance, the opener “Steelix.” Raido mitigates the imminence of a punishing development with a simple and repetitive melody that sounds like a squishy steel drum from outer space, injecting enough sweetness to make you smile while you dance. Similarly, on “Lo-Life,” we’re confronted with a stomping rhythm that on paper should be ruthless. But once those rich and creamy synth chords and motifs melt on top of the machines, the sun comes out and heats it all up, clouded by little particles of lo-fi glory.
“Mute” closes the EP. The focus here is on the low frequencies, masterfully mixed so the elements don’t clash or feel muddy. The bass line is so tight and delicious, you’ll want to sink your teeth into it, while pads bounce with the saturated beat popping in your ears.
There are still four more EPs to go in the Automatic/Manual series, but it’s clear that Raido is using this opportunity to experiment and reinvent himself before our very eyes.