Switched On – Various Artists: Air Texture VIII with Anthony Naples & DJ Python (Air Texture)

reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

For its eighth episode the rightly lauded Air Texture series relocates to Brooklyn, where it is picked up by DJs and sometime housemates Anthony Naples and DJ Python. Python is one of the many aliases under which Brian Piñeyro operates, and he has been working with the intriguing combination of ambient music soundscapes and reggaeton beats.

Naples, meanwhile, worked at an indie label but discovered techno through artists such as Theo Parrish, Omar S and Actress – and met Piñeyro when returning to New York after stints in Los Angeles and Berlin. The two were housemates for a little while before starting the Incienso label together.

Air Texture appears to be their first official compilation together, and as the biographies imply it is a cosmopolitan and very open musical affair.

What’s the music like?

Just when you think you have the Air Texture series nailed and pigeon-holed, it goes off in a new direction, indicating how essential it has become.

Volume eight, in the company of the New York-based pair, varies wildly in tempo but makes perfect sense when heard from start to finish. It starts with thick ambience and loping beats from Parris and Aurora Halal & DJ G., whose Off The Top has a particularly squelchy bass. The profile is dubby but not for long, as DINA’s Skin Shed unleashes an unexpected volley of rapid fire beats, comfortably the fastest thing yet heard in the Air Texture series.

It signals another change of tack, leading into the Naples-Python collaboration Entouré, where the reggaeton sway takes hold. Things then turn mysterious with the spaced out Per Ounce, an excellent spaced-out contribution from James Bangura with a strong percussive drive. Bitter Babe & Nick León continue with the thick, hot weather ambience but add some simmering tension, though by the time we get to DJ Trystero’s Palisade a warm, comforting ambience has descended. After some intimate beats and humorous touches on downstairs J’s 1000 dumplings, another Python-Naples collaboration – Final Speaking – complements short riffs with warm colours. Finally Vertical Silence finds a weird, levitating profile in Antonyms For Us, and 5AM’s Years signs off with a lazy, semi song-based finale, scattering into the ambient dust.

Does it all work?

Pretty much. There will be something for everyone to discover, which is a compliment you could level at each instalment of the Air Texture series so far. These are imaginative choices, and while the best are arguably the most ambient the collision course set by dancehall-influenced beats and ambient backdrops is truly intriguing.

Is it recommended?

Yes – and the more you listen the more there is to discover. Air Texture continues to be one of the few compilation series still going that is required listening. Once again, it proves an experience to broaden the musical mind.



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