Ela Minus, DJ Python – ♡
At face value, Ela Minus and DJ Python may seem like an unlikely pairing, but the multi-hyphenate vocalist and psychedelic reggaeton producer have more in common than might be expected. For starters, they’re both New Yorkers of Latinx origin, with Minus hailing from Brooklyn by way of Columbia and DJ Python from Queens via Miami. Most significantly, they both weave their heritage into their shared penchant for atmospheric, immersive electronica. For Minus, this takes shape as icy and spatial analog music that sits between house, techno and ambient, while for Python the dembow of reggaeton becomes an opportunity for stylistic subversion. There’s an inherent dreaminess to both; heard on Minus’s 2020 debut album acts of rebellion and on DJ Python’s boundary pushing Club Sentimientos series. Their common search for emotional gravitas and spiritual transcendence in the steely sounds of club music is what connects them most, and what makes their joint project ♡ (pronounced: corazón) an earnest and endearing venture.
Python does well with collaboration. His recent work with Anthony Naples as Air Texture is a case in point, and the application of his style to contexts outside of himself lends itself to the overall approach of his artistry. Minus on the other hand is a lot more aloof, her glacial and austere approach often feeling closely guarded and personal. It’s a joy to see her release some of the austerity on ♡ with such ease, revealing a comfort between her and DJ Python that becomes the beating soul of the project. And it’s necessary. With its pink and blue candy wrapper palette and cutsie title, the EP deals with matters of the heart at its most intimate and minute, touching on the natural ebb and flow of romance. For the most part, ♡ is a short collection of three DJ Python songs that also feature in instrumental form on the EP, and it’s fascinating to see how they transform when Minus lends her voice to them. The music is breezier than her usual faire, most alike to Python’s Club Sentimientos tropical house cum dembow dreamwave, and Minus’s intimate delivery lends itself well to Python’s charm. She’s especially playful on Pájaros en Verano, a computerised marimba led micro-dembow lullaby that’s quaint and tender, with Minus exploring a side to her that’s less dominatrix and more doting. The two also allow each other to lean into their ethereal instincts. The music here is as simple as it is sweet. Python exercises a degree of restraint, relying on spacey, atmospheric loops to give space for Minus’s voice. Abril Lluvias Mil is a languid mushroom trip that floats along on twilight coloured clouds, Minus’s subtle speak-singing in vernacular oozing between the layers of Python’s spiralling psychedelia. The amalgamation of both artists is probably best felt on Kiss U, a glitchy love song that combines some of Minus’s robotic electronica with Python’s hazier soundscapes.
♡ is a stunningly successful, albeit brief, creative partnership. It’s possibly the most emotionally in tune we’ve heard either artists, and, Minus and Python each find something in one another that we haven’t seen from them before. For Minus, it’s the tenderness she exudes over Python’s beats that feels like a progression from her usually isolated melancholy. For Python, the addition of Minus’s voice over his sounds reveals him as a capable pop producer as much as a psychedelic experimentalist. It’s fantastical, breathlessly romantic, and easy to get lost in, even if it only lasts about as long as a daydream.
Listen to Pájaros en Verano from ♡ below.
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