Review: Roberto – Let’s Be Free

Radio Slave’s seminal imprint, Rekids welcomes UK techno talent Roberto to deliver the latest instalment in the ‘Special Projects’ series. The Waveform Transmitter‘s self-confessed 21st-century technoid man, Simon Huxtable finds out more.

Okay, first a confession. Until this release and its subsequent press release, I genuinely thought Roberto was German. In the scheme of things it’s neither here nor there, but for me personally, it matters a great deal because I have always held German techno in very high regard. Now, this new information hasn’t been upsetting, it’s actually made me think more of Roberto as an artist and about his obvious complete command of the studio.

So far so good, you’ll agree.

Rekids, on the other hand, has never popped for me. They always have amazing artists, but I find, on the whole, the music released is just too niche for me to want to play; too noodle-y or minimal. So I’ve gone into this review with a certain level of trepidation: Roberto is amazing, Rekids… meh.

The EP is made up for four tracks all under the banner of ‘Special Projects’. Released on 25th January on vinyl and digital the tracks are arranged as pairs. The ‘A’ side houses the uptempo, dare I say, typical Roberto tracks.

Starting on the front foot, The Jester is an evolved beast. Raw, overdriven 909s lead the way as a syncopated organ adds a classy bounce. Cue hats and claps drenched in reverb and a perceived menace as the filters open up the melodic content. Deep, intelligent and totally hypnotising.

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Equally, Tonic is another slice of that Detroit-meets-Icelandic-Dub that Roberto does so well. Having produced a few tracks like this myself, the real skill is what you leave out and Roberto is a master at creating space without making the track feel empty or sparse.

On the B side, The Days Are Longer Now greets us as another warm and inviting organ pad which gradually makes way for effected hats and percussive energy. Its the kind of track you just live with; existing outside of the regular rules of engagement, it ebbs and flows with uneasy melancholy and you’re a little sad when it’s finished.

Rounding out the pack is title track Let’s Be Free. An ambient goodbye note that bizarrely leaves you with an acute sense of loss, and belonging. The textures are rich and the atmosphere is all-encompassing. Honestly, if you listen to this EP all the way through, you’ll need a lie down it so emotionally involved.

Roberto has smashed it again. He can do no wrong in my eyes, this is another gloriously deep, dub-infused masterclass from arguably the finest UK techno exports after Dave Clarke…and Surgeon.

Okay, so three is the magic number!

Author: simon huxtable

Jack of all trades, Simon likes long walks on the beach, strong alcoholic drinks and dancing all night long. Most of all, he enjoys writing in the third person and Progressive House. Sometimes at the same time.

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