Play Pal Music is both a label and venue based in Madrid, Spain. Set up by Teniente Castillo in 2012, Play Pal sets its sights on the darker side of disco, new wave, post punk, leftfield, low bpm music and anything in between. The label has so far released mind-altering tracks from the likes of: Duncan Gray, Dawad, FLXXX, Mushrooms Project, Skelesys, Club Bizarre and Teniente Castillo.
Review: Like its predecessors, the latest volume in Play Pal Music's Pals series offers up a wide-range of tantalising treats from up-and-coming and hot underground artists based in all four corners of the globe. The label says it amounts to "a collection to soundtrack these strange days", and there's certainly some paranoid and off-kilter moments to be found throughout (for proof, check the hard-wired, intoxicating Italo-disco chug of M Love's 'Oboda' and Aural Trace's ultra-hazy 'Melange'). Theplentiful highlights dotted across the set include the fuzzy, low-slung brilliance of Mufti's 'Fascinato', the throbbing space disco goodness of Leo Af Ekenstam's 'Stress' and the deep, slow and effortlessly emotive warmth of 'The Unknown' by Manner of Speaking.
Review: Ivan de la Rouch seems to love collaborating with other artists. He began 2021 by joining forces with Javier Busto for an EP on Emerald & Doreen and has now followed that up by hooking up with Mike Sacchetti on the duo's first Play Pal Music outing. We get two quietly impressive original tracks: 'Curame', a fuzzy, rock-tinged romp through arpeggio-driven electronic disco, and 'Moving', which adds spacey sounds, John Carpenter chords and eyes-closed electric guitar solos to another throbbing, Italo-disco style bassline. These two treats come backed by a quartet of remixes, of which Skelesys' psychedelic disco/proto-house take on 'Curame' and Mufti's Andrew Weatherall-meets-New Order style interpretation of 'Moving' stand out.
Review: To celebrate their eighth birthday, Play Pal Music has delved deep into its archives and put together two retrospectives of back catalogue tracks, "that sound as fresh now as when they were released". There's plenty to savour on this second volume, from the dubby, dark Italo-disco throb of Alda's 'Night Wolf', and the atmospheric, slow-motion chug of 'Cosmic' by Did Virgo, to the breaks-goes-new wave sleaziness of Fabio Me Llaman Soltero's strangely exotic 'Morena, Moreno (TYU REemix)' and the psych-rock-goes-kraut-disco hedonism of Mushrooms Project's 'Sake'. Throw in similarly impressive outings from Monoblock & PSLKTR (as remixed by Curses), Teniente Castillo and Vox Low, and you have a genuinely essential collection of inspired, off-kilter cuts.
Review: Founded in 2012, Madrid's Play Pal Music specialise in "new wave, post-punk, synths & guitars, fat bass, nu-disco, leftfield and anything in-between". That gives you an idea what to expect from this 15-track label compilation, as crossover styles like the punk-funk of late 70s New York, the new beat of late 80s Belgium and even the electro stylings of mid-00s Hoxton get thrown into the blender and mashed up into one gloriously sleazy, neon-lit, leather-clad dancefloor showdown that manages to be both a retro/nostalgic delight and forward-thinking at the same time. If 'Drop The Deal' or 'Walk The Night' are in your classics box, this is one to check for sure.
Review: Disco takes a turn for the psychedelic on this two-track, six-mix EP from Stockholm's Leo Af Ekenstam. The Original Mix of 'Quake' is 100% pure chug - a dark, throbbing affair with multiple layers of synths and tons of suppressed energy. Eliezer's remix is a more tripped-out variation on the theme, while Cornelius Doctor Kinosexual hams it up on an in-your-face take that leans towards Italo, new beat and EBM. 'March', meanwhile, is broody and hypnotic in its Original form, and comes complete with beefed-up rubs from Motel 77 and Local Suicide & Time To Sleep that are brasher and denser, respectively.
Review: Mexican producer Mufti has had several previous releases on Hedman's Relish label, which should give you an idea of the kind of twisted, spiky grooves contained herein. The EP's opened by the excellent 'Mess My Mind' itself, a gloriously sleazy, horror-tinged rock-disco-Italo fusion in a similar vein to Skatt Bros' classic 'Walk The Night'. Middle Sky Boom's remix tones down the rock influences and takes us closer to techno/electro territory, while you also get two rubs of 'Rutina': choose from the heavyweight bass thob and metal-like guitar chords of the Original, or a trippier, Eastern-tinged refix from Niv Ast. Forward-thinking stuff!
Review: Since making his debut on Disque Discos back in 2018, Fabio Me LLaman Soltero (real name Rodolfo Rivera) has popped up on a wide variety of labels with releases that blur the boundaries between various forms of house, techno, new wave and nu-disco. He's at it again on "Morena, Moreno", a stylish and sleazy late-night workout that wraps delay-laden cowbells, weird noises, trippy electronics and hushed spoken word vocals around shuffling, spaced-out beats and a seriously heavy analogue bassline. It comes backed with bonus cut "Filo Lacustre" - a kind of wonky, trippy disco-meets-rave sleaze-out - and a trio of remixes of "Morena, Moreno". Our pick of the bunch is the formidably filthy, strangely exotic TYU re-build, though the hushed post-punk/krautrock throb of Alejandro Veneno's remix is also rather good.
Review: These are dark days for people on both sides of the Atlantic, so we'll forgive American artist Nahuel for the moody and intoxicating nature of his first EP for Play Pal Music. Tending towards the dark and psychedelic end of the nu-disco spectrum, the collected cuts make great use of flow-slung bass guitar, fuzzy electric guitar solos, mind-altering electronics and tight but unfussy drums. We're particularly enjoying the hazy shuffle of "Dark Days" and the pulsating throb of "No Land", though the more panicked and foreboding "Guerra" is also rather good. There are three accompanying remixes, Motel 77's end-of-days take on "Dark Days", Balam's more heavily electronic - and otherworldly - version of "No Land" and Teniente Castillo's frenzied club approach version of 'Guerra'.
Review: Play Pal Music's latest must-check EP comes from Teniente Castillo, a Spanish producer whose releases have got progressively more psychedelic and chugging over the last few years. That dark, muscular and mind-altering vibe unsurprisingly comes to the fore on both "No Deal To Seal (Original Mix)", a throbbing chunk of psychedelic horror-disco built around a gargantuan, arpeggio style bassline, and the EBM inspired dancefloor darkness of "Life Is Showing You A Dialogue That Needs Your Attention. "Wormhole Until 6AM" is a touch brighter, though its druggy, slo-mo throb is undoubtedly mind-altering. The EP also boasts three remixes: of these, it's the spooky and hypnotic revision of "No Deal To Seal" by Rigopolar", Thomass Jackson's excellent remix of "Life Is Showing You A Dialogue That Needs Your Attention" and Theus Mago's percussive, all-action club revision of "Wormhole Until 6AM".
Review: It's disco, Jim, but not as we know it. On his two original cuts here, 'Ascension' itself and 'Vendetta', Andrem - whose previous work has graced Roam, Nein and other labels - blends disco and progressive house/melodic techno influences in a way you'd never think was even possible, with 'Ascension' an uptempo, peaktime-friendly affair and 'Vendetta' more of a druggy, slo-mo chugger. 'Ascension' re-rubs from Rigopolar and DaWad emphasise the track's electronic elements, with DaWad also introducing a hint of Eastern flava, while Teniente Castillo gives 'Vendetta' a space rock twist and Roe Deers take it towards Orb-ish territory.
Review: To celebrate five years of releasing new wave-inspired, left-of-centre goodness, Madrid's Play Pal Music has put together this celebratory compilation of previously unheard treats from the label's growing roster of artists. As you'd expect, the tone is dark, druggy and psychedelic from the word go, with Rambal Cochet's hallucinatory, slo-mo opener "Dark Caravan" neatly signposting what's to come. There are of course plenty less intense moments scattered throughout the compilation - see the tasty tracks by Did Virgo and Amevicious, Vereno and Club Bizarre, for starters - but a low-slung, heavyweight jam is never far away. To our ears, the best examples come from Curses (the wonky disco-punk of "More Cherry Pie"), Theus Mago (the Motorik throb of "Low Cost Interstellar Drive") and Nozz (grandiose soundtrack Italo throb-job "Clock").
Review: The 14th release on the fast-rising Play Pal imprint comes from Skelesys, whose previous outings have been on the techier side of house. This time round, the Beunos Aries born, Berlin-based producer has decided to flip the script. Opener "Nebula" is a pitched-down chugger laden with heavy analogue bass and warped electronics, while "This is Our Favourite Day" wraps stylish, post punk style guitar solos around a Nein style psychedelic nu-disco groove. There are more eyes-closed guitar solos to be found on "The Path", a dark and foreboding number full of incessant drum machine handclaps, wonky electronics and twisted bass. Of the three accompanying remixes, it's Peza's sparkling, Italo-disco influenced re-make of "Nebula" that stands out.
Review: Owner and manager of Play Pal Music, Teniente Castillo has been DJing for over 20 years, involved in all kinds of musical projects, residencies and venues, both in Madrid and away from Spain's capital. For his new EP "Virtual Reality" is a dark and grinding EBM monster with a searing arpeggio riding atop of rusty/dusted down drums. Likewise "Rephrased" (original mix) will appeal to fans of this current 'it' sound; popularised by labels like Correspondant or I'm A Cliche. In terms of remixes, he couldn't be in better hands than Croatian Squarewave (who has fast made a name for himself by using similar early '80s aesthetics) on his slow burning rendition of "Virtual Reality" while Undo's remix of "Rephrased" is even more high octane than the original, with some added 303 acid for dramatic effect.
Review: Madrid-based PlayPal Music has steadfastly refused to stick to one style since launching back in 2012, mixing up chugging, psychedelic disco with trippy techno and kinky, off kilter house music. Here they're in pitched-down, dark-wave inspired disco mode, courtesy of Nein Records outfit Permanent Wave. Lead cut "I See Horses" is deliciously weird, wild and alien, its' stylized female vocals crowded out by popping electronics and a chugging synth bassline. "La Maison Des Horreurs", meanwhile, sees them underpin a clandestine minimal wave cut with a rolling, dub house rhythm. Thomass Jackson [sic] successfully turns "I See Horses" into a slick-but-dark synth-pop shuffler, while Inigo Vontier drags "La Maison Des Horreurs" further towards pitch-black, Italo-disco territory.
Review: FLXXX are Mexican duo Ands Mega & Montessori who throw down some deep and dark nu disco on "Mayo Kayer" this one is super spacey much like the grooves of fellow Mexico expat Man Power. "Delores" is more stripped back and low slung with a sick arpeggio and rich string tapestries while "Mayan Ghost" is the real highlight; a sinister late night tech house jam with razor sharp synths and a whole lot of grit. There's some pretty sick remixes too; particularly by Neil Parnel aka Nein Records boss Tronik Youth who turns in a bleepy and adrenalised remake of "Mayan Ghost" that is so made to play.
Review: Madrid's Play Pal label has got a knack for the kinky, and its impressive array of releases have given us some of the warmest and most playful disco and house this winter! The young face of Alda pops up on the label and it's the artist's third EP to date. The title track "Night Wolf" is a murky, bass-heavy bullet for the dance floor and "The Claw" ups the tempo thanks to line of wobbly synth action. "Lime" verges on the more ravey and daring with its industrial bleeps and there's a pair of remixes to tie this wonderful EP off; the first is a slow and graceful rework of "The Claw" by Johnson, whereas "Ilime" is housed-up by Fkclub.
Review: Playful and cheeky minimal house that reminds you of Berlin clubs like Kater Blau or Kosmonaut on offer here from a label that's actually out of Madrid; Play Pal Music. And these guys, daWad & Mokic are actually from Marseille in France, funnily enough. The original mix of "Metrosexual" sounds almost as ten years ago as its namesake; and that's not all bad! Reminds us of mid noughties Marc Houle actually. The original mix of "Eat Me" is dark, electro-house tinged minimal, reminiscent of Konrad Black's earlier sound. Honourable mentions on the remix front go out to the Gemini Brothers for their driving remix of "Eat Me" and Squarewave for his cosmic nu-disco revision of "MetroSexual".
Review: A veteran all round musician (formerly of Sons Of Slough), Duncan Gray largely peddles his unique, slow chuggin tunes via his own Tici Taci label. Recently though he hooked up with the mighty Nein Records and now he's ventured even further afield to join Play Pal Music. "Proper Bogan" is long and groovy Balearic plod-funk and "The Twelfth Day" is deep cosmic synth. The former is remixed into abstract trip-house by Kezokichi & Teniente & Castillo and into muscled-up hiNRG by Peza. The latter also gets mixed into poppy funk-house by Amevicious and chiming arpeggiation by Id!r.
Review: There seems be a move away from re-edits in the disco scene of late, with producers opting for original recordings instead of just sticking a bigger kick under someone else's classic. Here, highlights include the Terminator-style disco noir of "Meccanica Futurista", the immense sleaze of Castillo and Thomass Jackson's doom-disco joint "No Wifi At The Attic" and the Daniel Molosso-style warped electro-disco of "Round One". The sound of all the good stuff that's happening in disco today.
Review: Two years on from the release of Mushroom Project's Sake EP, Play Pal Music has decided to get it remixed, putting out the resultant versions over a pair of digital releases. Tici Taci boss Duncan Gray kicks things off with a wonderfully chugging, borderline cosmic disco take on "Sake", before upping the ante on his rockin', guitar-laden Full Tempo Remix. Vox Low go all gothic disco on their version of "Yess", while Mijo turns "Wonky" into a thumping electrofunk-meets-house slammer. As if that wasn't enough to get the juices flowing, Mushrooms Project also offers up a new track - the delightfully dreamy, otherworldly "Tomorrow & Tomorrow".
Review: Social Assassin first appeared nearly a year ago as a B-side on a single by this Argentine producer, and now it's back in remixed form (actually in six remixed forms to be precise). There's a variety of approaches taken here, our faves being Mijo aka La Royal's pulsating Italo disco version, Fernando's depressed Moroder take and Did Virgo's super slow body music grinder. Great tune, great to have it back!
Review: Argentine producer Thomass Jackson has previously impressed with his warm, rubbery, tactile blends of disco, electrofunk, deep house and nu-disco. Following acclaimed outings on Electrique Music and Legendary Sound Research, he pops up on Play Pal with a varied quartet of likeable cuts. Opener "You Better Hold Me" is starry and evocative, lacing tasteful electric pianos and sweet jazz guitars over a particularly rubbery synth bassline. "The Affair" delivers a dose of chugging, cut-up '80s soul with a P-funk twist, while "Percolator" sounds like Spirictcatcher after a night with Roger Troutman. Finally, "Social Assassin" delves deeper into alternative territory, coming on like some long lost Factory Records B-side circa 1986.
Review: Teniente Castillo's Madrid-based disco/nu-disco imprint Play Pal Music got off to the perfect start last year, delivering a sweet compilation of re-edits, reworks and original tracks that found its way into the playlists of many top selectors. This follow-up repeats the formula, delivering a wide range of goodness, from the string-drenched nu-Balearic goodness of Trip Guitar's "El Vuelto", to the baggy, horn-heavy, filter-sporting disco-funk revivalism of Disco Tech's "Let Me". Highlights are plentiful, from the superb re-edits of Get Down Edits (whose touchy-feely "Holdin' Me Back" is excellent) and Beaten Space Probe (check "Gotta Play Funk", with its woozy synth doodles), to the heavy electrofunk of Juan Laya and Thomass Jackson.
Review: Italy's Mushrooms Project are now entering the realms of nu-disco veterans, having treated nu-disco enthusiasts to a huge array of psychedelic grooves since back in 2009. Here they continue their obsession with the dark, twisted and mysterious, dropping a trio of decidedly cosmic jams. The kaleidoscopic, clandestine grooves and fuzzy guitars of the delay-laden "Yesss!" set the tone, before "Wonky" delivers a full-strength slab of cowbell-laden cosmic disco fuzziness - all dark Italo synths, woozy melodies and saucer-eyed percussion. The title track goes even further, building the action around off-kilter psychedelic rock riffs and relentless, Alan Parsons Project style synths. Like fine sake, Mushrooms Project just get better with age.