Techno has had no shortage of inspired artists that have pushed, shaped and manipulated the defined boundaries of the genre, in many cases removing them all together. From the first strings of Detroit to skeletal funk arrangements, via the percussive intensity of the loop-based sound and the contemporary minimal grooves: artists like Derrick May, Basic Channel, Carl Craig, Jeff Mills and Richie Hawtin have all added their own special touch to the sonic soundscapes of techno music. And although he is the first to play down comparisons with such luminaries Danilo Vigorito is steadily imprinting his own electronic identity within the genre, pulling and stretching its boundaries in innovative and exciting ways.
Productions from the Vigorito factory slowed down in 2004 and this reduction in released material coincided with the end of the love affair between the dancefloor and the traditional loop based sound, especially within Europe. Forum critics were quick to take a pop at techno producers such as Danilo, suggesting that their records were overly repetitive and too similar. The transitional nature of techno during this period left many producers facing a simple choice; either surge onwards down more traditional channels or adapt to the changing requirements of the club environment. Luckily for us Danilo Vigorito opted for the latter and his re-emergence, supported by fresh sounds, is adding more colour to the already vibrant electronic scene. His new sound interpretations are effectively presented on the excellent new project label Intelligence. With his third Intelligence release ready to drop, Beat Factor were fortune enough to catch up with the man himself before he set off for Columbia to play a couple of exclusive DJ sets.
Dance music is developing at an impressive rate in South America, especially in countries like Brazil, Argentina and Columbia. You just have to check out Beat Factor's recent feature on the South American Music Conference held in Buenos Aires this year to see that electronic music is being embraced with real passion and excitement. Danilo supports this sentiment.
"I always approach these events with special enthusiasm, just because it's really amazing to play for South Americans. They're very warm people and their parties have a very special atmosphere."
External influences may be flooding into South America at an incredible rate, but their own music scene is fast becoming a source of inspiration for established international artists as well. This appears to be the case for Danilo Vigorito. His recent remixes of Marco Lenzi's 'Hotspot' on Molecular were filled with the kind of chanting grooves and funky percussion that we now associate with the South American techno scene.
"It is very true that South America, with its typical atmospheres is always able to remind me of the great power of music... music at 360 degrees and not just techno." Danilo enthuses.
Musical inspirations are often a complex subject, and Danilo is quick to confirm that every experience in his career has influenced him in a different way, and that everything he has made has contributed to his current productions. However, when discussing particular musical scenes from around the globe that have generated inspiration his sources are both refreshing and humble.
"I must remember that some poor places like Belgrade and Pristina have taught me that music is much more than I thought, because techno parties and the love for music are alive in a completed destroyed country." Reflects Danilo.
It is sensitive reflections like this, rather than tales of debauched late night adventures, that hint at the main motivations that drive this Italian producer and his work, and why conveying emotion appears to be a key component in the majority of his earlier releases. Productions such as 'Soul' on Genetic, released back in 2002, managed to evoke a real sense of feeling that is so often missing from techno. Vigorito modestly avoids comparing his records with those of some of the legendary producers that came before him, but productions like 'Soul' and his 'Organic Dub Series' on Frozen flowed with the same energy and emotion that characterised the early records that came out of Detroit.
"You're right, you have focused on a central aspect of my production. I have dedicated my life to music and it's my way of feeling and of expressing myself." Danilo reminisces.
As with most techno producers, DJ's and enthusiasts the Motor City has been an incomparable inspiration. That said, it is often the wider influences that reveal more about an artist's musical direction.
"I have been listening to electronic music since I was a child, but it is thanks to my brother because at the time I was too young to appreciate the big electro-pop artists, like Tears for Fears, Level 42 and Yazoo." Danilo says. "But my true love were, and still are, Depeche Mode. They are the ones in my opinion that have contributed a lot to the electro sound development."
Depeche Mode's ability to successfully use electronic elements within their music has meant that a myriad of their tracks have been given the remix treatment by a diverse selection of artists such as Plastikman, Timo Maas, Cicada, Danny Tenaglia and Carl Craig. With their new album 'Playing the Angel' now out their relevance to electronic music is still very strong. And it is a electronic music scene that is currently going from strength to strength. With so many great producers and great labels releasing excellent music covering house, minimal and techno it is an exciting time to buy and play records.
"There are a lot of good producers and nice labels, and it's not infrequent for me to find very new labels and unknown artists that strike me." When asked about particular labels and producers Danilo reveals an open-minded approach to new music that sees him search for music away from the norm: "I don't look out for a specific artist or label, of course there are some I appreciate more than others, but I listen to everything and I prefer to discover new and unusual tracks."
- [a:rpia:r] - A successful story
- Simian Mobile Disco - New Future Electro Disco Heroes
- Luciano: I'm Still the Same Guy
- The Model - A Special Man With Special Needs
- Me and You is M.A.N.D.Y.
- Carl Craig: I'm Not A Fortune Teller!
- Audio: In Between with Paul Van Dyk
- Audio: Steve Bug - 'I Don't Make Music for Bugs!'
- Ricardo Villalobos - from South America with love
- Lee Burridge: Balance, drugs and Tyrant
- Audio: Ricky Stone, a busy combination
- Hook N Sling - a Fat Australian Export
- Break-Beat lessons with Krafty Kuts
- Ewan Pearson, the lucky guy
- The other side of Ellen Allien
December 9, 2005 at 10:16 PM CET
Paul Pritchard ()
"At the end of the year Orion 9 will be released, and next year a new project within Orion will start, a minimal sub label inspired by soft but groovy sounds."
Io, the planned Orion sub-label, is set to release its first offering in the new year. However, it is clear that the Intelligence concept is presently the main vehicle for Danilo's artistic expression. With the release of the 'Moonbow EP' the series is now three releases old and it has so far been filled with deep, experimental and funky components.
"For sure, the Intelligence project wants to express, at best, my funky vein. Moreover, I like to underline that Intelligence is a new path in my musical career that allows me to create a more refined sound." Danilo discusses.
Indeed both 'Another Imagination' and 'Eden Club' are superb examples of a producer bravely creating new sounds that sparkle with definition. And in particular with the irresistible build of 'Anno Zero' and the infectious bounce of 'Eden Club' Danilo has undoubtedly succeeded in representing his funky side. On both EP's the producer experimented with different influences and sounds, but crucially these experiments still worked on the dancefloor.
"An important part of my artistic profile is based on the dancefloor response. Also the difference between the styles of my labels Orion, Intelligence and the forthcoming Io can be interpreted as different approaches to the dancefloor."
These 'different approaches' to the dancefloor have meant that many of Vigorito's productions have been played across the board by both techno and house DJ's, and now thanks to Intelligence by minimal DJ's as well. Danilo insists that this is never really an intention when he sets out to produce a particular track, although it is nice to hear his music played by world renowned DJ's and artists.
"I have to say that it has been a huge satisfaction to know that there has been interest in my productions from artists such as Francois Kevorkian, who worked with Depeche Mode, and Danny Tenaglia."
Moreover, several important DJ's have been spinning his latest 'Moonbow EP' off white label prior to its official release. Richie Hawtin for one has been using it in his hi tech sets of late, which is a pretty solid seal of approval in anyone's book.
"Moonbow is a record I love and I expect a lot from it, but as always I prefer to wait for the market reaction!" enthuses Danilo.
It is safe to say that the market reaction should be suitably rewarding. The EP is more polished that the previous Intelligence release, and that was an exceptional three-track trip through new school techno sound waves. The 'Moonbow EP' jacks through the dark and funky burn of the title track with its destructive builds and crashing percussion - to the spacey electro influenced grooves of 'Farhorizon' and then finally on to the shuffling funk of 'Receptors'. It is a truly outstanding effort that should elevate Danilo Vigorito's profile even further.
With the imagination and sheer effectiveness of the Intelligence project the future looks bright - both in the studio and in the clubs as a world renowned DJ.
"I'd like to play in Asia. I have never been but I have heard some beautiful things about Asia and my management is going to work on countries such as Japan and Malaysia. But my main efforts are now directed towards my album, which will be a big project where I want to express all the experiences I have collected in the first six years of my career. I aim to obtain collaborations with some very big artists and singers for this project."
An artist album is a huge project. Especially when it will try to encapsulate the spirit of Danilo's illustrious productions and experiences to date. That said given his track record and the outstanding compositions he is now showcasing on Intelligence it will no doubt be a project that will be completed with creativity, deep experimentation and the soul that runs through both his music and his approach to life. Naturally it will be an album that will be highly anticipated within the techno community, and hopefully within wider electronic spheres also. In the meantime, as we wait for the album to take shape, we can take comfort in the fact that we will be suitably supplied thanks to future Intelligence releases and fresh material on Orion and it's forthcoming sub label Io.