Music Review: Umberto - 2020 EP [320KB Music]

Italian collective of 320KB Music may look like one of those "good-old-days" kind of nostalgic groups at first glance, but they're definitely not! These guys from Bologna, the city of the famous ragù, have all the ingredients to make some serious and appetizing house music, which is served on a tasty 12" wax. Their very first EP is courtesy of label-head Umberto and has been recorded at his very own 320KB Studio, which gives the name to the homonymous label.

 

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Buy the EP on KMA60

 

Opener "Love II Love" kicks the things off hard and direct, without too much small talk and providing a sort of tech-house feeling but staying very minimal in composition. Solid drums are just a few and only the ones really needed. Some old-school synths keep the beat going, while a dusty vocal joins the track right in front of us, chopping the track into different sections according to its presence, almost with a certain complacent arrogance. The synths will make us feel like walking up the stairs, along which runs parallel the tight on the groove.

 

 

 

Up next, "Feel Me" is a real house piano jam, with a lean groove contrasted by a super fat bassline which oftentimes pitches down, giving us a sense of fall in the low end. The boxy kick hits heavily and the piano reminds of some old-tape jazzy record - metallic and straight - while analogue synths arise creating a wavy motion. When the track gets dry, we're directly hit by the groove, but piano never stops, stabbing and insisting all the time. Rolling snares follow each other from start to finish, filling the gaps in a very satisfying way. 

 

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B1's "Dope About You" basically insists on the opposition of rolling bass and lovely stabs. Being them in contrast with each other, they give continuous interest to the piece. The interplay is framed by Umberto's signature drums, essential and techy. The mix's so clean that we can clearly hear the grain of every single piece of the track, having a sensation of definition, nevertheless staying in a Lofi world. That's something very hard to accomplish and very cool to listen to. The stab is funky and adds a little bit of soul that we really need, especially in times like these. This is an introspective tune, trippy and hypnotizing, still hitting hard on the floor.

 

 

 

Closing the EP is the 90s inspired "My House Is A Club". Old school disco stabs bounce on top of liquid and sharp synths and above an edgy and fluid bassline, while Umberto's processed voice keeps the measure of time passing, never getting too prominent. This is real house music here at its finest form.

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi