The beauty of a label like Workshop is that, despite a rough sound palette defined by its most prominent artists, the A&Ring reaches out to lesser known names without any danger of the quality dipping. What started with a minimum of fuss in 2006 has since grown to become one of the most lauded house labels in recent years, scoring fans across the board down to a staunch leftfield approach that seeks to explore hidden depths in deep house.
Reaching their tenth release, the mysterious Berlin label Workshop has dealt up their best offering yet. Building on the momentum they gained throughout last year with releases like Reagenz’s “Playtime” and Kassem Mosse’s Workshop 08, the imprint turns in another accomplished EP. Workshop 10 is less subtle than much of the rest of the catalogue, lending itself to three super deep tracks that have a feel of slo-mo house mixed with elements of jazz. As well as featuring long time contributor Lowtec, this release is given a shake up by including two brand new artists, with Schweiz Rec and Ron Deacon making their debuts.
Just like Reagnez’s “Playtime,” Workshop 10 comes loaded with more colour and emotion than we see elsewhere on the imprint. Label mainstay, Lowtec delves the furthest into these colours and moods with his deep and shadowy track that comes in two distinct parts, listed as “Untitled A1”. The first section is dark and brooding yet still manages to sound warm and approachable. Sounding like the score to a dawn that follows a turbulent night, the track eases itself along with an almost epic consciousness, allowing a breezy rhythm to reveal itself from the darkness. There are dramatic strings and a vaguely mournful male vocal but remains too urbane as a whole to be considered melancholic in its purest sense: a change from the kind cryptic house and techno of his “Angstrom” and Workshop 06 releases. Again, the second part is unexpected too, turning the track into a hazy, fog of down tempo broken beat. On the b-side, Schweiz Rec lightens the mood with a playful organ-led strut through resonantly rounded bass, dainty keys and sprightly percussion. Ron Deacon completes the duo’s impressive debuts with his slo-mo, disco tinged house track that utilises warbling melodies and strutting beat. Constantly evolving and seemingly instilled with a strong dedication to quality – Workshop is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Review: Tom Jones