Few in the left-field dance circuit have brought reggaetón into the conversation quite the way Brian Piñeyro has. In a field full of DJs making updates to historically American dance genres like house and techno, Piñeyro has used his DJ Python alias to explore the possibilities of reggaetón’s dembow beat, translating its relentless thump into something heady and hypnotizing. Where dancehall and reggaetón are typically high-energy genres made for igniting crowds and rattling trunks, Piñeyro takes a dubbier approach, emphasizing the atmospheric elements that hang between the rhythms and tunneling into them to see how far down he can go. After a strong run of releases that have balanced the project’s crystalline tranquility with a sinuous sensuality, DJ Python’s latest EP, Club Sentimientos Vol. 2, is an exercise in ethereal bliss, amplifying all the most heavenly elements of Piñeyro’s music without losing its elastic bounce.
Some of Piñeyro’s strongest tracks so far have been his more extended workouts, where he’s allowed his shuffling beats to spill out into a blurry cloud of psychedelic movement. His last album, Mas Amable, was essentially one continuous 48-minute track, with Piñeyro journeying between pure ambience and sinister illbient while finding new ways to subtly tweak his constant, ever-looping dembow riddim. On “Angel,” the 11-minute centerpiece of Club Sentimientos Vol. 2, DJ Python applies this tactic to some of his most new-agey sounds yet, carrying the track along on a soothing wave of cresting chords and shimmering synths. After introducing a crisp, handclap-driven groove, Piñeyro launches into an extended mallet percussion solo that breezily drifts in and out, never drawing too much attention to itself while fostering a playful sense of discovery. The track feels closer in spirit to the dreamy output of mid-2010s house labels like 100% Silk, with Piñeyro leaning deeper into sounds that work best on a pair of headphones as opposed to a club soundsystem. In its gentle swell, “Angel” is one of DJ Python’s purest, most satisfying tracks to date.
The other two tracks return to the bassy, reggaetón-inflected riddims Piñeyro is best known for. “TMMD (IMMMD)” revolves around a few sparse elements, just a chopped vocal sample and a couple glassy synths that weave around a tumbling dembow stomp. With no central chord progression grounding the song, Piñeyro lets his samples float freely in empty space, bouncing off one another like bubbles fizzing in an Erlenmeyer flask. Meanwhile, the closing “Club Sentimiental Vol Three” finds DJ Python at his most relaxed; opening on a drowsy, soft-as-clouds synth progression, the track hovers in place for about a minute and a half until, sure enough, Piñeyro’s trusty dembow riddim kicks back in, bringing the whole song to life like a dancehall remix of Selected Ambient Works 85-92. Despite its relative brevity, Club Sentimientos Vol. 2 shows Piñeyro growing and discovering new depths to his enchanting take on dance music. Rather than accentuating dembow’s powerful, constant lurch, here Piñeyro gives himself room to indulge his more textural impulses, creating a meditative, airy paradise of sound that glides high above the rhythms below. It’s a pleasure to watch him soar.
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