Review: The long-running Cabinet label serves up some more sublime tech-house. Audio Werner started releasing records during the minimal boom, but in more recent years he has forged out a deeper sound. On the title track, he lays down dense drums and a pulsing rhythm before the musical elements take over. A combination of spacey chords and balmy keys sees "Dwelling" soar into the cosmos. By contrast, Daniel Paul's "Gemuet" is all about remaining on the ground. This the Cabinet mainstay achieves through the use of a walking bassline that sounds like it might protrude through the speakers at any moment, such is the power of the track's subs.
Review: Highly respected Frenchman Alexandre Gouyette makes his debut on Berlin institution Cabinet Records with two perfectly contrasting grooves: "Soothing" naturally lives up to its name with soft focus dubby synth ripples and a classic drum arrangement while "Visions" rolls and punches like a Kenny Dope beats track. Broken, spacious, dubbed-out and physical, Brawther's reputation for rough finesse is so strong you can properly feel it.
Review: The underrated heroes of the Berlin underground return with three slices of deep and sublime minimal house. It's full of all the usual elements you've come to expect from these guys: rolling basslines, blissed out chords and immaculate 808 rhythms as found on "Taxi Funk" and "Bon Bon" respectively. But it's the dub mix of "Taxi Funk" which is the one that really does it for us, where it takes the Cabinet sound into sleazy, very late morning afterhours territory. A truly murky acid house groove exploration. Tip!
Review: House duo Cab Drivers deliver a diverse release for Cabinet. The title track is an unusual affair; based on the stripped back sound of German minimal house, it is also laced with deep, disco licks and could be the bastard offspring of Losoul and I:Cube. By contrast, "Beat Night 77" bears little resemblance. Warmer and more musical, its bleeding bassline and trippy acidic elements make for a gentle but groovy deep house sound. Cab Drivers continue in this vein on "Erstwurf Zweiter"; in this instance however, the kicks are replaced by subtle breakbeats and the warm 303 elements by lush chords.
Review: Cab Drivers deliver two excellent house jams. "U R Here" is a classic deep groove and has all the qualities that contemporary deep producers lack - a churning, fat bassline, swathes and swathes of rich, musical chords and a swinging groove that sits halfway between garage stepping and straighter 4/4s. To all intents and purposes, it could have been made during the 90s. "Five" is more contemporary-sounding; the drums are rolling and dense, the rhythm groovy and chugging. Remaining true to that unmistakably modern approach, Cab Drivers then pepper the arrangement with all manner of infectious disco stabs and jazzy hooks.
Review: The latest EP from long-serving German duo Cab Drivers - AKA Berlin veterans Daniel Paul and DJ Zky - is true to the original '90s ethos of tech-house. With its' spacey synth motif, bustling synth bassline, gentle acid lines and bouncy, New Jersey influenced beats, "Correspondance" [sic] is a near perfect fusion of techno and deep house elements. The fine, analogue sounding original is remixed by Audio Werner - himself a regular Daniel Paul collaborator - whose deeper, woozier and hazier interpretation drags the track further towards European techno territory. It's a fine rework, though it arguably lacks some of the original slick, life-affirming positivity.
Review: Daniel Paul and Jens Augustowsky have been steering Cabinet Records for twenty years now, establishing the label as one of Berlin's most reliable outlets for techy, housey fare and contributing their own weight in productions under various aliases. Cab Drivers is one of their longest-running collaborations with Playroom their 11th 12" release under the name in those two decades, and their studio understanding is quite evident in the productions. Both the ten minute title cut and "A Less Complex Situation" are understated but wholly effective DJ tools with the subtle acid modulations of the former just edging it.
Review: Although best known these days as Cab Drivers, Berlin's Daniel Paul and Jens "DJ Zky" Augustowsky have been working together under different aliases since 1994. Karo was one of their earliest aliases, with the Zwo 12" - in which "Zwo Fremde" originally appeared - slipping out in 1995. It's good to see the track getting a second airing, because it's arguably one of the finest tech-house tracks of all time. Loopy, hypnotic, tracky and blessed with some wonderful cyclical synth motifs, it feels like the missing link between Detroit-influenced UK tech-house of that period and the more dub-focused sound of Berlin. This time round it's accompanied by the specially recorded "Backside 50", a similarly slick, melodious and locked-in cut bristling with spacey pads, darting acid bass and intergalactic electronics.
Review: Berlin's finest and Cabinet Records head honchos Jens Augustowsky and Daniel Paul return for more perfect loops with their signature all hardware setup. The most infectious and hypnotic minimal house served up to perfection on their newest offering. It starts off with the plonky swing fuelled groove of "Alternative Acts": a signature sound of theirs which you can hear in the work of other artists they no doubt influenced such as Mike Shannon. Then, there's the deep and emotive "Drive One" supported by thunderous toms and bittersweet pad textures complete with perfectly filtered chords. Finally "Holiday Ahead" is the most positive and uplifting offering here and perfect to play just as the sunlight starts to peer through the blinds on Sunday morning: there's hell of a lot of soul on this boompty acid jam.
Review: Well isn't this quite the star pairing - Berlin underground heroes (and Cabinet head honchos) Cab Drivers teaming up with Detroit house legend Chez Damier on a new collaboration entitled "Holiday Time". Daniel Paul and ZKY's trademark style of deep, analogue 3AM acid makes for perfect tunnel vision - with Damier's signature soulful croon atop. It is for sure one of the Inner Balance Music boss' best collaborations, alongside the H2H project a couple of years back with Ricardo Villalobos and Ben Vedren on Perlon. Tip!
Review: Originally released on vinyl last year, this two-tracker on seminal label Cabinet now finds its way into the digital domain. Since its inception, the Berlin imprint has championed that grey area between house and techno - and this release is no exception. "Tocker" is based on rumbling drums, a shuffling rhythm and building chords. It's a solid, linear DJ tool designed to have across the board appeal. "Wildpark" is more uptempo; based on tight claps and tough kicks, these elements provide the basis for soaring, tripped out chords. Listening to these tracks, it's no surprise that Cabinet has remained at the forefront of tech-house for over twenty years.
Review: It's tech-house with a difference on this split release by Cabinet. The Cab Drivers' take on DJ Ghe's "Ahoi" doesn't follow a set formula as acid lines growl over shuffling 808s and a dark, two-note bassline plays away. Despite this interplay of elements, there's a sparseness and forlornness at the heart of this arrangement, typified by what sounds like a sample of the rattle of an old time railroad. Nadan's contribution is more conventional, focusing on repetition rather than variety. Consisting of just a few elements - a heavy bass, trippy riff and the sound of a lone male vocalist claiming 'it's midnight' - this nine-minute journey is sure to appeal to lovers of locked on grooves.
Review: Hans Schaaf aka DJ Honesty has had a relationship with Cabinet that goes back five years, and on Honeydrop 5 , he demonstrates why he has become an increasingly important part of the label's roster. "Greunzeug" sits somewhere in between house and techno, with shuffling drums supporting dubbed out filters and a drawling, slurred vocal sample. "Siebeneck" follows a similar path, but is more understated: the drums are lean ad the rhythm more linear, but atmospheric chords and a powerful sub make it sound distinctive. "Melonshake" also largely sticks to the techno-house sound, but it sees Schaaf get playful with a niggling 303 line bubbling through the shuffling drums.
Review: It's been three years since Berlin-based producer Honesty (AKA Honey Drop) last released an EP. This three-tracker, then, is well overdue. Happily, he's in fine form throughout, delivering cuts that bristle with dancefloor intensity while offering enough attractive bagginess to impress those who don't like their tech-house to be too rigid. Arguably the most impressive of the three cuts is "Cascais", a warming trip into deep dub-house territory that benefits greatly from twinkling pianos, sun-kissed guitars and reverberating chords. Those looking for more heads-down fare should check the Dub Mix of "Big Sur" - typically Germanic late night tech-house with a hypnotic twist - while the Pacific Mix of the same track is almost Balearic in its gently rising, melodic approach. It sounds like it comes from a bygone age of warm, sun-flecked techno, which adds to its sinewy charm.
Review: Berlin's Cabinet Records are currently celebrating their 20th anniversary. That's quite an achievement, but label owners Zky and Daniel P (aka Jens Augustowsky and Daniel Paul Hoffmann) have always been about the quality, and quality often sells itself. Goodies is a collection of both established and more fledgling acts on the label, four in total. Noha's deep and delicate progger "Cables", Phazer's um, phazed-out early 90s house shuffle "Little Something", Lemakuhlar's trancey tech-house odyssey, "Ten Days Brikho" and DJ Honesty's jazzy jacker "Moss". Classy.