Paula Tape // Astroturismo
(Rhythm Section)

A debut release which tackles classic house sounds and finds something fresh to express.

This might well be the first you’ve heard of Paula Tape’s productions, given her sole previous release slipped out low-key in 2018 on Sounds of Beaubien Quest. The Santiago-born, Milan-based artist has been plenty busy as a DJ and label co-steer with Tempo Dischi, showcasing a deep and broad taste in music of all shapes and shades through a tangle of radio shows and mixes. You can detect that diggers sensibility coming through on her debut appearance for Rhythm Section, as the language of a thousand niche cuts get distilled into four playful and infectious club tracks with flair for days.

90s motifs come thick and fast on these tracks – Tape’s tools are classic synths and iconic drum machines, and she doesn’t try to mask that. You’ll hear the eternally satisfying funk of rompler-style slap bass, brassy DX7-esque patches and the carnival clatter of the 707, 626 and all the other textbook rhythm boxes. Jaded house heads might start rolling their eyes – we have heard those sounds a lot in the past 40 years – but you just need to hear these tracks to understand why Tape is noteworthy. What matters is how she arranges these sounds, and they roll out with a relaxed but joyous flavour which quite simply sounds fresh. If music isn’t going to dazzle you with innovation, then it leans on emotional response and an inherent sincerity, and you hear that throughout Astroturismo.

There’s no greater test of an artist’s compositional chops than giving them massively over-mined sounds to work with, and Tape transcends every trapdoor to deliver something meaningful, classy and catchy. The familiarity in these tracks becomes a boon rather than a hindrance, inviting you into Tape’s vibe and making the surroundings seem incredibly comfortable.