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The Cali Experiment
Don Pascal

Released: 25th Aug, 2014
Label: Tru Thoughts

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Tru Thoughts are excited to have snapped up two new tracks from French DJ/producer Don Pascal - a keen Colombian crate-digger and long-time champion of Latin music in Europe - along with a floor filling remix by go-to club rocker The Reflex. Out 25th August, this sun-soaked set will be released, complete with bonus DJ tools, on limited edition (300) 12” vinyl (including download code) and digital.

Now based in London, where he relocated in 2012 to chase a new creative high after fruitful stints in Paris and Barcelona, Don Pascal has travelled several times to Colombia over the last few years. As a salsa lover and aficionado, his hope with this new material was to fill the space between house & broken beat rhythms and salsa music, with a focus on bringing authentic salsa piano to the forefront; it was Quantic who hooked him up with some of the musicians to fulfil his ideas, resulting in these two new tracks, “Tributo” and “Tumbao”.

He recorded the incredible piano parts with Cristhian Salgado, a great Cali-based pianist/producer, and then sought out Hector Viveros (from the legendary Grupo Niche) for the vocals. “Hector has such an incredible voice that reminds me of Benny More, the greatest Cuban singer of all time and one of my favourite artists", enthuses Pascal. “Tributo” is a dedication to the salsa piano greats, on which Viveros’ voice sparkles as he name-checks many heroes before improvising the main body of the song under Pascal’s direction.  

Don Pascal and The Reflex first hooked up in London, and they found they each had a complementary slant on a shared funk background. Uncannily skilled at fixing up deep tracks for the dancefloor, The Reflex is a regular in the sets of everyone from Joey Negro, Dimitri from Paris and John Morales to Danny Krivit, Disclosure and Horse Meat Disco, and was included in TimeOut’s Big In 2014 list. As well as mixing down the two original productions on “The Cali Experiment EP”, he brought his talents to the fore on “Tributo (The Reflex Tribute Mix)”. Don Pascal says of the rework, As a dancer myself and underground music lover, my beats and tracks are mostly aimed at serious dancers and a more underground public. The Reflex remix exposes the track to a wider crowd, while keeping quite close to the original spirit of the song, which is one of his great skills.” 

Originally from Toulouse, Don Pascal started DJ-ing in Paris in the early ‘90s. He was a pioneer in promoting Black music artists, who had a hard time signing with French major labels despite being an essential part of the scene. Influenced greatly by Gilles Peterson, his work has been supported by tastemakers across the world, to add to big love on French national stations including Radio Nova. Promoting at legendary Parisian club The Palace, in the ‘90s, he opened the doors to reggae/dancehall and funk; there and elsewhere he shared the decks with African DJs introducing Congolese and Nigerian music; he also worked with Sony and Virgin Music on the releases of artists including Air, Michael Jackson, Fugees, Cypress Hill, Basement Jaxx, Massive Attack and Horace Andy.

On moving to Barcelona in 2003, he soon found himself mixing alongside Fred Guzzo, founder of Cafe Royale, contributing to the diverse and progressive musical policy that made it the spot in Barcelona for demanding music lovers. Another important encounter in Barcelona was with French DJ/producer Fred Spider. They started to produce music together as The Jivers, with jazzy club hit "Do What" followed by a highly regarded EP on the Jazz & Milk label, opening up a new phase in the exciting career of a key character in the story of world music.