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Ricky L and Marcoradi have been friends for as long as they can remember. They first met on the dancefloor of one of Italy’s most iconic clubs, Red Zone in Perugia, where Ricky has been a resident DJ for the best part of 25 years. Now, they’ve joined forces in the studio for the first time, uniting under the Hear & Now alias for Claremont 56. Those with a keen knowledge of Italian dance music will know their impressive track records. Both have a history of producing fine deep house records and remixes for the likes of Ibadan, Uomo, Reincarnation, Top Tracks, Restricted Tracks and Vega Records. With Hear & Now, they’ve decided to step back from the dancefloor, instead producing hazy, emotion-rich music for after-hours listening, and mornings spent blinking into the sunshine. A-side “Hirundo” is a thing of rare beauty: a gently flowering opus constructed from shuffling, mind-massaging drum rhythms, spacey pads, stretched-out organ chords and Marcoradi’s effortless guitar playing. Lilting, alien synthesizer refrains seemingly tumble from the heavens, intensifying the duo’s blissful mood. Flip for an even deeper excursion, the softly spun wizardry of “Sabbia Magica”. Here, the duo’s house influences gently rise to the surface. This is slow, deep and dreamy house from the top drawer, with jazz-flecked guitar flourishes and undulating electronics combining effortlessly with hypnotic, metronomic drums, cascading string lines and a wonderfully dexterous electronic bassline. You can dance if you wish, but you may just want a hug instead.
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