Review: Baaz has been quietly building up an impressive discography since 2007, delivering quality deep house on labels such as Elevate, Quintessentials and Slices of Life. Here he returns to his Office Recordings imprint with his most ambitious release yet - a long-promised debut album. While there's plenty of spacey, dancefloor-focused club tracks - see "Closed", "Endori", the becalmed "Anyway" and pleasingly picturesque "Glass Voice" - the Berlin-based producer also takes the opportunity to showcase a previously undisclosed love of downtempo beats. So, we get the Motor City electronics and glitchy beats of "Spacehub", the ambient hip-hop of "Pressyn", and the beautiful, beatless electronica of opener "Everyone". The result is a rich, evocative album with its head in the clouds, and its feet on the floor.
Review: There's much to admire about Bastian Volker's follow-up to 2012's What About Talk About, which recently dropped for the first time on digital download. Whereas the first volume frequently flipped styles, retaining a smoky, late night vibe throughout, this follow-up largely ploughs a deep hose furrow. That's not a criticism, though; the three deep house cuts here (and particularly the hazy, wide-eyed loveliness of "Those Things") all get just the right balance between crackling atmospherics, melodic warmth and floor-friendly rhythms. "KMS", co-produced with Iron Curtis and reworked by Soulphiction, is particularly beautiful The EP's one non-house moment, the horizontal downtempo jam "Whatabouttalkabout", is also very impressive.
Review: Baaz (AKA Berlin-based studio boffin Bastian Volker) is a past master at producing ultra-deep, ultra-woozy deep house. This EP for Office Recordings, previously released on vinyl last year but now available digitally for the first time, is one of his best. It's packed with the kind of becalmed, shuffling, crackly late night fare that oozes quiet soul from every digitally encoded second. "In My Mind" and "Glim" both go deep into the groove, delivering prime chunks of late night hypnotism, while "Way Out Citti" showcases his skills as an MPC beatmaker - think deep, jazzy, hip-hop tempo beat science, and you're close. The latter is also remixed by Reiling & Astrup, who turn it into a wide-eyed chunk of melancholic, piano-laden deep house.
Review: This year marks 10 years since Bastian Volker first donned the Baaz alias. He remains one of deep house's most reliable producers, as this outing on longtime home Office Recordings deftly proves. He begins with the ocean-deep chords, softly spoken electronics and hypnotic groove of "Ween Been", before wrapping heart-aching pianos and drowsy chords around a barely audible drum track on the near-ambient bliss of "Absent". On the flipside you'll find the tech-tinged shuffle of "The Friend", where bolder kicks and snares rise above his liquid dreamscape, and the brilliant ambient electronica of sublime closer "Two (For You)". This is music for sunsets, sunrises and particularly sleepy afternoons.
Review: Berlin producer Baaz made a logical progression to the Red Souvenirs album on Office last year after some fourteen years in the game, and now his productions are going under the microscope with a host of suitable scientists at the lens. Dorisburg's productions have been in a roll of late, and the Swedish producer brings plenty of percussive intrigue to bear on his version of "Endori". SAM brings a bright and breezy deep house confection to bear on "Your Wardrobe" replete with swooping pads and cheeky swing, and Christopher Rau finishes off the package with a typical tryst of earthen crunch and off-key flair in a solid 4/4 context.
Review: It has been a productive time for Office Recordings with the recent release of Baaz's Red Souvenirs double album being followed up by this high-grade 12" from Iron Curtis. With his Care single for Hudd Traxx only just out, The KMS Years is the second single of 2015 for the prolific German and it finds him on sublime form as ever. Lead track "Magnet" trades in the dulcet deep house tones that Curtis has built his name on, with a sizzling drum set buffeting along just the right balance of pads and more snappy melodic elements. "What Happened Happened" however represents more of a departure into downtempo broken beat territory which sounds like a comfortable place for Curtis to find himself, before Berg issues a "Reduktion" on the track which actually seems to beef it up into a more floor-ready jam.
Review: For his label's tenth edition, Switzerland's Baaz serves up a fine release by German deep house purveyor Iron Curtis on the Maple EP. Starting off with the raw, minimal and cyclical techno jack of the title track (wicked!), it's a bit of a change of pace from the label's usual preference for ultra deep or dubby aesthetics: but equally subterranean and hypnotic all the same. Speaking of which, "Collision" indeed gets with the program on this absolutely lush downtime journey, while on the flip we've got two short but sweet offerings: "Entago Entery" and the blissful "Reset Me" providing the mandatory ambient track that has been known to close out the label's recent offerings. More quality from undoubtedly one of the top labels in deep house of the moment.
Review: A man who knows a thing or two about getting deep, Christopher Rau gives Office their third release and he's got plenty of soul-enriched goodies to impart from up-for-it club tackle to strung-out mellow explorations. "Mehris Groove" is centred around a gentle chord hook and a rolling tumble of percussion with an organic lilt to it. It's simple and effective like all the best Rau tracks are. "Broke" is more downtempo yet still marches forth with a danceable purpose, despite the best efforts of the plaintive Rhodes notes to quell the kinesis of the track. "Im Sumpf" heads off into experimental territory with an intricate arrangement of distant sound and melody as warm and inviting as it is out-there.
Review: Berlin's Office Recordings has always released sparingly, and this is perhaps what has saved them from becoming too attached to one genre or trend, and instead travelling at their own pace and on their own agenda. The label introduces newcomer Trux to the scene, a mystery artist who props up out of nowhere armed with eight pellets of ambient and drum experimentation - we're listening. Aside from the lo-fi, over-layered patterns of abstract pieces such as "Aziol" or "Pattern" itself, other tunes like "Ada" or Skarb" recall the Actress sort of dynasty, and the artist manages to conjure airy grooves made up of drone plates and intangible drum circles. It's an alchemistic sort of sound, and one that is surely set to earn Trux plenty of fans. Tip!