Serious Trouble, Serious Trouble

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[Serious Trouble]

Serious Trouble, German producer Benedikt Frey’s new self-released 12″, is a distinct and divergent release. Frey’s arrangements have always hinted at a playful side, but thus far he has seemed confined to more typical, “tasteful” releases, even on his own Love Pain Sunshine & Rain imprint. He told LWE last year that having his own label “doesn’t change what [he] might otherwise produce and release,” but the two tracks here beg to differ: both seem absolutely designed for their stamped, pseudo-bootleg format. The A is very Liasons Dangereueses: a tight, stomping EBM piece complete with a lady maniacally shouting and the development of some nicely wavy, elongated acid. It’s not an incredibly original idea, but it has enough immediacy to slot into all kinds of uptempo sets.

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The flip’s shifty, mysterious slow-house opening becomes a somewhat unexpected edit of The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize,” as the rapper’s iconic vocal emerges midway through and permeates the rest of the track. As with certain recent pieces by, say, Galcher Lustwerk, I’m a little put off—rap vocals in dance music have a bizarre lineage. They aren’t always a bad idea, but too often they are a tacky excuse for a lack of musicality. By letting Biggie’s vocal run out, Frey’s track fits into the at times unsavory lineage of Soul Clap (and that related boom of slow-house edits of recognizable tracks), Hollertronix (and related blog-house rap remixes), and even mid-00s minimal, with its moody ambience and pitched-down vocals. “Hypnotize” is obviously a classic, and the producer’s deft recognition of its dance-floor potential will no doubt please a lot of partygoers. It just feels aimed at the lowest common denominator. A Biggie edit in 2014 is not that interesting.

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