Chilling Matenda - Mediteran (Global Phonehead)

Author: Damion
Date: Jun 16, 2005
Score: 9/10

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Denis Matenda seems to have a unique approach to making music – in all the stuff of his I’ve heard nothing ever sounds forced, the sounds are exactly where you want them to be, and the escalation and movement has that little-something-extra that makes it all so adorable. Anyone who knows what I mean will love this. Don’t read the word ‘chilling’ up there to think of sub-entheogenic meanderings, or lazy vaguely ketamine trip-hop hammock nonsense. And while we’re setting the record (erm, ‘CD’) straight, it’s worth pointing out that this doesn’t sit anywhere near the ‘psychedelic’ chill section that most downtempo releases we cover here occupy. This is more accessible, more universal, more of a slomo post-pacha-in-the-afternoon affair for sipping cocktails and chatting to Spanish girls with bits of pink in their hair. In fact, that sort of sums it up nicely: while Shpongle would go well with a rather large hit of DMT, Mediteran would go better with San Miguel, pizza, olives and a spliff. Good Old Sun starts as we mean to go on, kicking in with a great sense of place so early on in the music. Laid-back, Balearic-tinged dubby trance, with playful flamenco guitar and a breathy pace and vibe.

No Comprendo is possibly his nicest bit of music since 2001’s Energy Loader album, and it’s all about gorgeous melodies. Nothing more, nothing less. Wonderful Life is classy 120bpm progressive chill, and It’s A Long Time Ago is introspectively brilliant, exquisite dubno with great production and nice, positive-groove chords keeping it nice and floaty. Title track Mediteran is sheer genius. Myriad trance textures layer over a warm, 110bpm bottomend that lulls you securely, a perfect marriage of progressive and chillout music. Once its trble-heavy intro’s out of the way, Arpeggio Grazioso sounds like the sun streaming in through your windows while you settle down to a healthy, fruit-packed breakfast probably, if this is what does it for you, with the Spanish chick with bits of pink in her hair we mentioned earlier.

Lucky Smile is perfect emotional end-of-a-century stuff, deserving to get played to death at the more discerning cafes and bars on the White Island this summer, and is at least as good as anything Chicane ever managed in his chilled moments. Audio Raj is among the best tunes so far this year, with everything in the right place and a wonderful blend of emotion, melody, musicianship and vibe –nothing forced, everything perfect. Flashback is another corker, moving a little like Talamasca’s track on Module 01 all those years ago. Smooth, with psychedelic sprinkles around the edges and incredible storytelling movement throughout. Finally, Need You closes the album wonderfully, bringing it back full-circle, whi ch has the effect of making you want to listen to it all again. This is seriously amazing music, and I’m not going to listen to anyone who says it’s ‘not psychedelic’ or whatever. If you like music that’s simply good music, and you want something a bit different, then this could be one of your best friends this summer.



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