Doc Ketamer is a DJ / producer born in Naples. At the age of 20 he started traveling throughout Europe organizing juggling shows. From the year 2000 he began to collaborate and play with different sound systems. In those years he focused on live sets. In this same period he founded the KML sound system KML, which almost immediately joined the larger collective Black Sheep. After this experience, and having played all over Europe, DJ Ketamer – as he was called then – rediscovered his passion for vinyl and began playing different styles on various occasions in social centers and small venues. In 2017 he started producing new beats for Mc Sof, transforming KML into a label. He also changed his moniker from Dj Ketamer to Doc Ketamer, as if to sanction the transition to a new artistic period.
2019 sees Doc Ketamer release his latest EP, simply entitled “KETAMER”. The recording mixes old school techno on Side A, together with electro and drum n’ bass on Side B. If you can’t face any more seasonal warbling about herald angels or red-nosed reindeers, this EP provides a bracing kind of relief.
The new recording from Doc Ketamer, finds the dance music veteran releasing new material under the various guises he has used over the years, each one specializing in no-nonsense techno and electro flavors. What makes “KETAMER” such a vital recording is that, for all its unflinching experimentation, it’s actually not hard to listen to. It can fill any space and draw attention from a variety of listeners.
The various strains of hard-hitting techno adopt incessant principles early on, with the EP opener “Maradonatek (Ketamer01a)”. The track is a tribute to world-renowned soccer player Maradona, who was chosen as a transversal icon meant to unite even the most diverse people of Naples, the birthplace of Doc Ketamer. It demonstrates the artist’s maturity. The sound palette is perpetual and the repetition is unforgiving; its unrelenting vocal chants locking you into the track’s hypnotic magnetism.
“Klan (Ketamer02a)” sticks to a techno core but uses an uneven drum pattern. This is a true gateway into Doc Ketamer’s eclectic mindset; a seemingly endless rhythm pulse and irregular drum splashes take on an angular quality as they unfurl through twisting spirals of growling synth vapor. The thud of the drum pads demands submission.
The EP’s crowning glory is its central track – “Simm a Mafia (Ketamer01b)”. Edging in just enough harmony to lift the blanket of fog above head height, it’s the perfect tonic after the shadowy techno exploits that precede it. As the looping melodic phrase steps out to be heard through the heavy processing, it’s devastating simplicity sums up electro-groove in all its glory.
The refrain hook used on “Simm a Mafia (Ketamer01b)”, was sampled from an old Italian musical, themed around the mafia, called “Tano da morire”. The track that closes the EP, “Giocajouer Dnb (Ketamer02b)”, is a drum n’ bass composition, based on another classic 80’s Italian dance tune – the infamous and iconic “Gioca Jouer” originally performed by Claudio Cecchetto.
Though Doc Ketamer is nostalgic here, as a producer, he is absolutely at the top of his game and there’s no doubt that, as far as the technology goes, he is as forward-looking and innovative as always. Throughout the EP, the sound is, not surprisingly, crystalline and perfect, bringing out every little detail in the mix.
Even though Doc Ketamer looks back on a couple of tracks, that’s not to say that this is a retro recording. It still sounds like the future, and the purity of tone he achieves here ensures that even at its most familiar, his music never feels tired. And when he decides to look back at some of those classic samples, it’s a homage rather than a pastiche.
There is an allusive, atmospheric quality to all of the material on “KETAMER” that puts it head and shoulders above the more generic electronic music the new wave of young producers are currently bringing out.
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All-in-one link: https://song.link/album/i/1474223795