Netlabel La Squadra closes out a year of monthly releases with a finale showcase this month | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Netlabel La Squadra closes out a year of monthly releases with a finale showcase this month

There are no duds in this expansive, challenging catalog

Morgantics’ Passengers EP
Morgantics’ Passengers EP
The latest release from the netlabel La Sqaudra is also its last.

Morgantics’ Passengers EP, released on Dec. 5, is the final installment in a year-long series curated by the label’s founder, Dario Miceli, though “curated” is a bit of a misnomer. Miceli asked his friends to send him music, he commissioned a photograph for each corresponding cover, and he released the music on Bandcamp.

La Squadra’s output falls under the umbrella of electronic music, but that’s a big umbrella. Passengers is filled with disorienting percussion and elastic vocal samples sort of reminiscent of Flying Lotus’ jazz-influenced electronica. Good Dude LoJack, who Miceli manages alongside slowdanger and Telavision, succeeds with a dancier and more subdued approach on his four-track Sevenandtwenty. Elle Excess’ CNC is a hypnotic collection of styles incorporating minimal IDM and digital hardcore into something cohesive, smart and fun to listen to. There are no duds. Otherwise, the only consistency among the artists is that they’re all Miceli’s friends.

Miceli got the idea for La Squadra (“the team,” if that wasn’t obvious) after putting together a CDR show in Pittsburgh last year. CDR (Create, Define, Release) is a British-based music project which hosts sessions for artists to share and workshop their music in a club setting with a professional sound system.

In March 2015, Miceli put together a local CDR show and couldn’t believe how much talent was flying under the radar in Pittsburgh. Once 2016 came around, the idea for a limited-run netlabel seemed like the best way to promote the under-promoted local talent.

Part of the fun of La Squadra is the lack of curation and interference. The label provided the mixing, mastering, cover art and promotion, but the music is released more or less as is. In some cases, Miceli didn’t hear it until it was out. He doesn’t know when the songs were made or the stories behind them. He doesn’t really care. He wanted to give his friends a platform to share music, and La Squadra did just that.

Flamingo Fest at the National Aviary
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Flamingo Fest at the National Aviary

By Mars Johnson