`Warm Vibes EP´: Tenax Recordings returns.

Words by: Cila Warncke
Posted: 15/1/08 12:17

Tenax in lovely, historic Florence is one of the best places to party in Italy so we always keep an ear out for what's happening on their eponymous record label. They had the misfortune to hit some snags with a previous distributor, which has meant a bit of a pause on the music production front, but they're back in the game now with a new company and ready to sail merrily into 2008.

For those of you looking for an idea of what Tenax is about here's a clue, from a DJ who should know. According to Lee Burridge, who's spent a lot of time hanging out with the handsome reprobates of Florence, "the club Tenax is looking to change the way people experience music." It's a fine, high claim. And anyone who's had the chance to party there would probably agree. But does the record label output quite live up to Tenax's lofty live ambitions?

Well, maybe. First up on this double a-side is Birdy. It's nice, but there is something creepily pastoral about it; a whiff of the Heater hayseed vibe. While it happily never quite gets into the full-on accordion fuelled, foot-stomping breakdown it has definite overtones of strange, barn-dance-style goings on. In fact, every time I listen it reminds me more and more of the comical, highly-choreographed fight scene on a barge on the Tiber in Roman Holiday (Audrey Hepburn's Academy Award-winning debut screen turn, don't you know). Something about the shonky beats and wobbly accordion refrain captures a whole nightlife world of white-coated waiters, slick-haired Romeos and women in good leather shoes. Which means Birdy is probably just special enough to go down a storm on the middle-brow techno dancefloors where Heater is now passé.

On the flipside, Vacaciones En Chile by Ilario Alicante goes in a completely different - but still engagingly eccentric - direction, mixing a warm, funky organic Spanish guitar vibe with a percussion motif that sounds like someone saying "ku-tuk-ku-tuk-ku-tuk" repeatedly, at speed. In fact, the whole track seems to run at two entirely different rhythms, which is both intriguing and a little disconcerting. Until some conventional techno beats arrive about three minutes in to give structure to the freeform warblings. Even if the title didn't strongly imply it you might suspect this track was knocked together on someone's iBook while they were laying on a chaise lounge somewhere in South America, spliff in hand, recovering from a heavy sunbathing session.

On the whole not, perhaps, as mind-bending as a night out in Tenax proper, but it's a solid return for a label whose quality and originality has been missed. Welcome back, gentlemen.


Roberto Capuano
Politics Of Dancing
Ralph Lawson