On the back of an angelic lead vocal, “Dolce Far Niente (Pete Hammond Remix),” the latest single from Netherlands indie favorite Life-Work, comes alive with a vibrancy that has become all too uncommon in modern music. With a reggae-inspired beat, colorful synthesizers paint an evocative picture atop the velvety-soft rhythm and bruising bassline in the background. There’s so much energy, so much uncontrollable lust for life itself in “Dolce Far Niente (Pete Hammond Remix),” and yet all of the boisterous grooves feel remarkably controlled and even-keeled. Life-Work aren’t messing around with stock melodies in this track; on the contrary, they’re diving into an experimental element within their sound that had previously been only hinted at in albums like 2016’s You Won’t See My Tears, the Karen Orchin-led Lost in Time, and of course, the blistering Wonder Where You Are, which introduced all of us to their stylish brand of pop in the first place. This is an evolved musicality for sure, and it’s produced one of the smartest new summer ballads of 2019 in “Dolce Far Niente (Pete Hammond Remix).”
The synths are surprisingly warm in tone here, but they aren’t the only interestingly textured component in the instrumentation that comprises the backdrop for the eroticized vocal. Everything, from the horn parts all the way back to the bassline and the vivacious verses that echo its emotive depth, feels really rich and provocative in tone, and I think that, by and large, “Dolce Far Niente (Pete Hammond Remix)” is probably the most texturally expressive track that Life-Work has issued in their career thus far. The rhythm is so rife with detail, and thanks to Pete Hammond’s surreal mixing from behind the soundboard, we’re able to appreciate each and every dynamic dimension of the song free of the mainstream plasticity that keeps so many listeners away from contemporary pop music. Life-Work and Hammond have amazing chemistry, and I really hope that this isn’t the last occasion on which they’ll be making music together. They seem to bring out the best in each other without overexploiting the skillsets put before them, which, to be fair, isn’t all that easy to do anymore. This is a top of the line track, and it’s no doubt the product of two brilliant musical minds collectively collaborating in perfect harmony.
“Dolce Far Niente (Pete Hammond Remix)” is a surprisingly evocative and fearlessly experimental look for the act known as Life-Work, but it must be said that they wear it amazingly well. In an era beholden to a more progressive attitude towards recording than any ever to come before it, Life-Work and Pete Hammond divvy out a collection of grooves beside a memorably melodic soundscape that challenges the status quo in pop and continues to push the blueprint of earlier works by Han Epskamp to the very limit here. I’m eager to hear more collaborations between these two powerhouses in the future, but as far this summer goes, I highly recommend giving “Dolce Far Niente (Pete Hammond Remix)” a dedicated spin the next time that you’re in the market for new and exciting pop music. Life-Work are firing on all cylinders in this song, and subsequently making a bigger impact than anyone anticipated them to in 2019.
The music of Life Work has been heard all over the world due to the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Records. Learn more - https://musikandfilm.com