Of all the Panorama Bar residents, Steffi is the most vocal and articulate champion of classic and contemporary house and techno. While Prosumer focuses on New York and Chicago sounds – which, as anyone who has heard him spin will attest to, he does with great skill – and Cassy maps out the lines where modern and classic minimalism meet, Steffi takes the listener and audience to the deepest levels.
Welcome to Separate Mind, a new monthly column on Juno Plus that aims to cover techno music in its many hues and shades. In an era when every minor development, each tone or tweak to a kick drum is compartmentalised into a new micro-genre, Separate Mind takes the opposite approach. This column will keep its coverage as open-ended as possible, lending support to releases on the basis of whether or not the music deserves it and not because it fits into a narrative arrived at by consensus among so-called influencers.
Could it have been a Don Corleone-esque “I’m gonna make them an offer they can’t refuse,” mumble from Third Side aka Lucretio, Marieu and Steffi that lead to the recent disbanding of the Swedish House Mafia? Regardless, Third Side and the Restoration family have always reigned supreme in the underworld of analogue house music.
This sampler from Prosumer’s third edition of the Panorama Bar mix series should do a lot to dispel any doubts that the Ostgut stable focuses too heavily on harder techno or caters exclusively to jaw-grinding intensity. Berlin residing Korean producer Hunee joins the Ostgut stable with “Leaf For Hand In Hand”, which sounds like a return to UK house music of the mid to late-90s, its undulating groove unfolding every bit as joyously as Jamie Reid”s LHAS project from that period. The crucial difference however is that Hunee’s track is clubbier and features the kind of celebratory hook that would be more common to Pagan releases. Fused with a bleeding acid line, it nonetheless serves as a reminder of what a fruitful time that scene enjoyed.
“Take U” by Soundstore a is more stripped back affair, focusing mainly on a buzzing bass, edgy beats and heavy claps – although there is some concession towards musicality thanks to some eerie synths – but “Sadness” by Steffi ensures that soul remains on the Ostgut menu. Over understated drums, Steffi lays down a sun-kissed yet somnambulant melody line and the kind of breathy vocals that Tracey Thorn would kill to emulate. These tracks make for one of the most uplifting house releases of 2011 – and reinforce Ostgut’s reputation as a purveyor of the best contemporary electronic music.