If there’s one thing we like is creating a relationship with the artists who make the music we love to hear and release. Cardiff-based artist Castro is one of the best examples of this, as the young producer and percussionist sent us an email back in 2013 with a single demo and a request that we listened to it. We listened – and boy, are we glad we did – and ended up releasing it as Toot Toot on the Upper Cuts free downloads series. It was, and still is, one of the weirdest and most captivating zouk bass tracks we’ve heard so far, and it provided the foundation on which we kept building, eventually releasing the 2-track EP ‘Bipolar’ which he now follows-up with his proper debut EP ‘The Subtle Approach’, making the journey from unknown bedroom producer to promising young artist in a heartbeat.
If his unpredictable takes on zouk bass were the starting point of our relationship with Castro, now there’s a whole lot more happening inside Owen Sheppard’s studio. The slow cadence of these modern kizomba offshoots and moombah hybrids naturally attracted the young percussionist’s attention, but as he grows as an artist he proceeds to fully dive into the Global Club Music world to tackle all sorts of rhythms and influences. However, as much as they have evolved since then, intricately-constructed beats, colorful melodies and a healthy mix of humour and sensitivity – all of it infused with that tropical aroma – are still very much at the heart of Castro’s tracks.
‘The Subtle Approach’ is the definitive introduction to Castro’s own sonic universe, where a profound understanding of genres and scenes like Zouk Bass, Moombah, UK Funky or Bass Music provides him with the foundation to build a hybrid sound that manages to touch on these influences while becoming something unique. From the breezy EP opener Cobwebs’ entrancing steel drums melodies to the vibrant and cheerful dancefloor-focused collaboration with Amsterdam-based vocalist Zanillya on Ring Ring, the frantic percussive energy of Let Me Go or Bam Bam’s weird looping vocal samples, the producer’s debut EP is a true sonic rollercoaster that proudly showcases some of the best things that can be found inside the Global Club Music scene.