Lisbon based French producer DJ iZem has been quietly bubbling away over the past couple of years as a producer on the rise. The few tracks and remixes that he has released have demonstrated a talented artist with a unique style blending tropical rhythms with funk influences, smooth synths with live instrumentation and deep basses with smooth vocals, epitomised by 2011’s brilliant Quiver / Debaixo D’Agua EP. He returns with his 2nd EP… EP2, offering another slice of quality, warm, soulful, topically infused electronica. What’s more, it is available for free download (!)
Each track on the EP stands out in its own right. Opener Belén, featuring vocalist Yolanda Reyes, starts the EP as it means to go on with a funk-inspired, sunshine soaked slice of digital latin soul. Residuo meanwhile blends smooth dub with a cumbia rhythm and Elefantes e Castelos (my personal favourite) is like tropical Jazzanova hip-hop at its best. Rocksteady brings us back to those funk basslines and guitars, throwing in shaking tropical rhythms and Madu’s great vocal lines.
The EP ends with a now trademark Izem bootleg refix of upcoming British soul singer Michael Kiwanuka. DJ iZem, perhaps more well known for his eclectic selections on his bi-weekly Groovalizacion radio show, is slowly but surely making a name for himself as a producer in his own right and as one to keep an eye on.