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Midnight Ritual is Panther Panther’s follow-up EP to Acapulco Space Station. This is a high-energy, bass-heavy soundtrack to further space exploration in times of darkness. As fractured voices sing out melodically from the depths of the galaxy with their melancholy hopes, the nocturnal dance begins. So light up the candles, stoke up the fires and breathe in deep as you move, let the ritual spur you on and set you free! Panther Panther, aka Pablo Villierezz, continues his search for that sweet spot between Tropical Bass energies and the Bristol Sound vibe. Through the use of acoustic samples and both digital and analogue synthesis, let Midnight Ritual lift you out of this and many other worlds.
Midnight Ritual es el siguiente EP de Panther Panther despues de Acapulco Space Station. Es un soundtrack lleno de energia y bajos pesados para continuar la exploracion espacial en tiempos oscuros. Mientras voces fracturadas cantan melodicamente desde las profundidades del espacio sideral con melancolia y esperanza, la danza nocturna comienza. Asi que enciendan las velas, prendan esos fuegos e inhalen profundamente al moverse, dejen que el ritual los lleve lejos y los libere! Panther Panther (Pablo Villierezz) continua su busqueda por un balance perfecto entre la energia del Tropical Bass y las vibras del Bristol Sound. A travez de samples acusticas en combinacion con sintesis digital y analoga, deja que Midnight Ritual te eleve mas alla de este y otros mundos.
After my return from the Americas Tour in October 2015, I was slightly overwhelmed by the amount of ideas and information I had gathered through my experiences of travelling and performing abroad. Over the winter of that year and during the first few months of 2016, I wrote twelve compositions that I wanted to develop for further releases.
I realised that by publishing an album in the fast-changing world of Tropical Bass, the attention the music has is limited to the attention span of DJs and other listeners who are always on the lookout for new sounds. It is therefore unlikely that an album will get as much coverage as a shorter project. Therefore I decided that in 2016, I would attempt to release three EPs of 3-4 tracks each so that these may have a longer life on the net. I also wanted to initiate collaborations with some of the artists I met whilst travelling and increase my links to other record labels throughout the continent. For these reasons, I decided to release this EP on a different label and to co-write my new material with new artists.
The collaborative approach has been difficult to manage, as being on the other side of the world makes it difficult to remind artists about projects taking place on the other side of the world. For this first EP, I initiated collaborations with three artists (Selectorchico, Aranemi and Señor Chancho) and only Señor Chancho delivered his track on time. Because of this, I had to produce three other tracks to make sure I had enough material for the EP, and fortunately I managed to finish them all in time.
Themes and production
Since writing, releasing and performing Acapulco Space Station in 2015, I have come to understand the differences in attitudes to rhythm and dancing in the UK compared to South America. This is of course a generalization, but I have noticed that in the UK people will only start dancing if a track is slightly higher than 105BPM or if it is slower, it must have lyrics, as in hip-hop or RnB. As Tropical Bass rhythms are still relatively new to UK audiences, faster BPM will ensure that people can move to the music, specially if samples used are abstract or in Spanish.
I wanted to keep certain of the atmosphere from Acapulco SS without repeating the same vibe, therefore on these compositions I focused much more on creating a Bristol Sound style of atmosphere, with dark dub based production and abstracted sampled voices as melodies. This has been a difficult balance to strike, as it is not so easy to produce a track that is both for parties but that is also imbued with rainy moodiness. However, I think all the tracks in the EP managed to some extent to take the listener to unique worlds where dancing can take any form.
This Love, Midnight Ritual, Be and Thinking of Me explore this sense of the unknown, grounded in the traditional 4/4 rhythm that is at the root of most Tropical Bass compilations. However, for all of the tracks, the introduction of analogue synthesis helped me change the way in which I compose the music. For example, the use of the Waldorf Rocket synthesizer allowed me to create much better build ups and organic sound sculpting, whilst using the Arturia MicroBrute, particularly in This Love, helped me create a very different bass line to what I normally produce.
For this EP I also used some of my old techniques for composition. I created sounds using design tools such as Sound Hack and GRM and piled them on to my rhythm base until there was no more aural space to fill. I then proceeded to whittle down some of the sounds, adding variation to rhythm and melody patterns until only the main elements were available. One of the main differences with this EP compared to Acapulco SS is the use of samples that I bought from the company Samplephonics. They produce very unique and high quality samples for textures and, particularly, rhythms that I wanted to use. The EP as a whole has a much more organic feel as a result.
Overall I feel this is a vast improvement over Acapulco Space Station in terms of sounds explored, balance between acoustic sounds and digital elements as well as in terms of creating a unique voice that stands out from many of the other Tropical Bass records out there. It isn’t a commercial record but it is not difficult to dance to either. The collaboration with Señor Chanco from Regional Label in Chile, was very successful, and I think this EP may mark the beginning of future collaborations too. Unfortunatley, my EP came out the day after the Brexit referendum results and I was in no mood to celebrate or publicize. However, maybe this record is another grain into the balance of artwork that supports a transnational, global identity, that I still firmly believe lies in the future of humanity. Only time will tell, in the mean time, Midnight Ritual can help exorcise the demons of today.