Bon & Rau, Cloverleaf Days

[Smallville Records]

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Smallville has long maintained a low key approach to releasing music, even when a critically adored album (Move D & Benjamin Brunn’s Songs From the Beehive) and gargantuan 12″ (STL’s Silent State, our top track of 2009) propelled the Hamburg-based label into the unexpected position of being one of the most discussed labels for reduced house music. Not carried away with big names, one of Smallville’s charms has been their equal preference for established producers and newcomers. Following a solid label compilation released last fall comes their eighteenth record from the team of newcomer and Smallville Paris clerk Jacques Bon and relative newcomer Christopher Rau. “Cloverleaf Days” was featured on the aforementioned And Suddenly It’s Morning and is nice to have available on wax. Its underwater harp strokes and buoyant bass are very much business as usual for the Smallville collective, and that’s still very much a good thing.

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On the flip are two new tracks, kicking off with “Brothers and Sisters.” Bon & Rau give it a bit more hustle than the plush A side, somewhat referencing late 90’s filter house arrangements but heard through an opioid fog, chiming and flashing without ever fully unveiling its charged core sample. The “Poodle Dub,” quite possibly named in homage to Hamburg’s treasured Golden Pudel Club, is a stark departure from the original. Despite being furnished in crowd ambiance the mix strikes a somber, relaxed mood, greeting clubbers with the first light of morning in their eyes with facile chords and ascending melodies. Few will be surprised with how closely Bon & Rau interpret textbook Smallville aesthetics, but its DJ-friendly deep house grooves further elucidate how the label has come this far without breaking a sweat. Still, the duo should continue to refine their focus beyond the Smallville boilerplate that works so well — for now.

Pierre-Nicolas  on April 18, 2010 at 7:29 AM

Yess I love Cloverleaf days. Kind of “Belle Epoque” low-fi atmosphere inside works great as in Ne travaillez jamais by Rau on Dérive.

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