The Italians are Coming

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France has distorted house, Brazil has baile funk, England has dubstep, and Baltimore has club. Italy has all of these things smashed together, chopped, rewound, sped up, and run through a washing machine–with some Pecorino Romano sprinkled on top. A growing number of Italian DJs and producers are putting their home turf on the international dance map, so we checked in with six of the country’s top party rockers to see what’s cooking.

The Bloody Beetroots
Echoing forth from their studio in Venice’s Bassano del Grappa, home of the namesake 160-proof alcohol, comes these ex-punks’ self-professed “schizoid sound,” which seems to be made by running beats through scanners and fax machines. Their gritty, nasty, electro-tinged jams have appeared on the holy hipster trinity–Dim Mak, Iheartcomix, Kitsuné–but the real fun is seeing members Bob Rifo and Tommy Tee DJ wearing Marvel comics-inspired masks.

Favorite Italian dish:
Beetroots, preferably bloody.

3 Is a Crowd
The fun-loving trio of Albi, Froz, and Giga–whose name is often abbreviated 3IAC–describes their sound as “Hiphopglitchyuptempogroovy house for party harders!” In other words, they make bombastic, pounding numbers that borrow heavy kicks from hard house and snare hits from Baltimore club. The Milan-based outfit has unleashed EPs for homegrown labels Mozzarella and Snake Beat but the blogs are really buzzing about their remixes of Sinden, Yelle, Fagget Fairys, and Bryan Cox.

Favorite Italian dish:
Pasta with bagna cauda sauce (Albi). Any kind of pizza when I’m junkin’ with Albi (Froz). I love all the Italian cheese (Giga).

Bad boy Mowgli grew up in Belluno, a small, mountainous town in the Northeast, but has since decamped to London (by way of Bologna), where he’s proving himself to be a groovy house-smith with remixes of Benny Benassi and Mr. Elastic. He’s also got a minimal-techno side-project (as MINIMOW), and is developing his own label, Deadfish Audio.

Favorite Italian dish:

Blatta & Inesha
Blatta, a trained jazz musician, and Inesha, a two-time Italian DMC champion, started off making nu-skool breaks tracks for Mantra Vibes and U.K. label Fat, but these days they’re crafting bass-driven house that’s bouncy enough to wreck any pool party. The duo hails from Catania, in the eastern part of Sicily.

Favorite Italian dish:
We don’t eat. We are watching our figures in case our music career goes bad. Then we can continue our modeling career.

Taking cues from Euro hard house, ghettotech, and videogames, the effervescent Congorock has just unleashed his first EP for Fools Gold, featuring the dirty 8-bit banger “Runark.” Though he now lives in Milan, Congo grew up in Lecce in the bottom of the boot-heel, not far from mother Africa. “Living in Lecce is like being in Jamaica because of the big reggae-dancehall scene,” he says–inspiration for his big, deep basslines perhaps?

Favorite Italian dish:
Purpette (meatballs).

Milan’s Crookers (made up of DJ/producers Bot and Phra) have created an army of synth-infested electro-club bangers whose breakdowns evoke warm fuzzies from raver days of yore. Having remixed the likes of Bonde do Role, Kid Cudi, and Chemical Brothers and recorded for Southern Fried, Man Recordings, and Mad Decent, their unique and jumpy sound is proving Italians do do it better.

Favorite Italian dish:
Discover it on Cookin’ with Crookers, soon on YouTube!

MP3: "Take it Back" by 3 is a Crowd