Review: Rising stars of the Berlin tech house scene and charted by the Von Strokes and the Dubfires, AKA AKA return with Ich & Du, another EP of odd minimal grooves for Oli Koletzki's label Stil vor Talent. The title track has a typically smooth jacking groove with a perfect build, aided and abetted by some distinctive vocals from Umani. Originally released on Koletzki's digital Talent offshoot last year"4 Fauste fur ein Hallelulja" takes a step up and impresses with sub bass stabs and bulging kick drums rubbing up against neat vocal edits and the peculiar sound of someone getting a kicking. Finishing off is the Latin guitar tinged filtered techno strangeness of "Sandpiper" where a looped vocal collides wonderfully with a sampled beat box and a chunky kick.
Review: It sounds like the German label could have a big hit on their hands here. "Awake" is a subtle fusion of the Kompakt shuffle and German minimal house traditions, as doubled up drums bring subtle acoustic guitar flourishes and Blomqvist's falsetto to a climax. Meanwhile "Something Says" comes across like Superpitcher in more grounded form than usual thanks to its heavy claps and bubbling bassline. However, it's the title track that may well enter the pop charts. Starting ff with stripped back beats, it progresses to reveal a breathy vocal, draped by beautiful piano and lush strings. Blomqvist's tones are understated and androgynous, but "Ink" has an intangible, magical quality that will endear it to a wider audience.
Review: If you're going to base a release around samples, it is only fair to make the best and cleverest uses out of your chosen source material. It's an approach that Bruch & Junior have adopted on "Runway", and it pays dividends. The title track is a firing percussive affair, but the soulful vocal sample lends it a soulful, old school feeling that so many contemporary 'tool' tracks lack. Likewise "Seat No Fastbelt", which revolves around another familiar vocal sample, while the organ solo on "Whatcha Want" is reminiscent of Jaydee's classic "Plastic Dreams". Best of the lot though is "Jazzbians", which samples a jazz piano solo that is then filtered and looped, building gradually through the arrangement until it becomes the focal point. A job well done.
Review: The cover art makes reference to the children's classic story about a little girl chasing a white rabbit, and there's certainly a sense of the surreal about this release. "Scope" is a pulsing underground house groove, its grungy bassline and muffled but insistent bassline making for the perfect accompaniment for those 'lost it' moments on the dance floor. "Evil" is another malevolent track, but this time, grainy riffs and jagged percussive licks that accompany the tub thumping, rolling drums. "Feelings" features a rolling, tribal groove and is more laid back than the first two tracks as a funk guitar sample and sensuous disco strings prevail. "Delight" is cut from a similar cloth, and its sax stabs and deep chords underpin an infectious 'hey hey' vocal sample.
Review: Like so many of his minimal contemporaries, Dapayk Solo aka Niklas Worgt has attempted to move from stripped back rhythms into more soulful house territories. However, unlike most of his peers, Worgt is one of the few artists who has successfully achieved this transition. It is evident on Let Go, where the dense drums and insane squealing sax of "Upyo" recalls classic Derrick Carter and the airy strings and rolling groove on "Nekan" has echoes of late 90s London tech-house. The best indictment of Worgt's shift is the title track, where hissing percussion and insistent chord builds show a rawness lacking in nearly all nouveau deep house productions.
Review: Listening to this split release, it sounds like mnml never went away - it just grew up and became more diverse. "Don't Stop" by Dupree is based on a typical stop-start, stuttering mnml groove, but it also swells to a climax with some warm chords. The same producer's "Step by Step" is also based on clicking, hiccupping rhythms, but the bassline is muscular and robust - the polar opposite of emasculated white noise pap. Lesosvsky also impresses with his reinvention of stripped back techno and both "Tanzholz" and "Crystal Clock" climax to the sound of epic, trancey chords - the shards of gltchy percussion that follow in their wake a reminder of the space in which Lesosvsky's thought patterns originated.