Christopher Rau, Just Love Baby…


Sandrine Estrade Boulet

[Thema]


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Of Hamburg’s abundant crop of cuddly deep house, Christopher Rau stands slightly apart with his agreeable mismatch of delicacy and repetition; extended locked-grid rhythms that bear just the right amount of weight sit atop his dreamy, skewed melodies. For his first Stateside outing, courtesy of Brooklyn outfit Thema, Rau mostly takes up the same counterweighted approach, but with “Swearing” as the notable exception. As with his recent woozy cut “Last Time Was So Good” for Hypercolour, it is gingerly woven around a starring vocal, but here Rau is infinitely more relaxed, with an unobtrusive reggae sample adorning a lopsided harpsichord beat.

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“Swearing” is deceptively simple, economic, and kind of straightforward, and its digital-only “Love Edit” remix seems to wander absentmindedly into straightforward disco house territory, but those are really the only grievances to be had with Just Love Baby…, as Rau’s three remaining tracks simply revel in the ease of his own slow-burn nature. “Spring Loop” is the most bittersweet, alternating a choppy rhythm bed with an undulating one-two caress of a gasping female and burbling percussion. “D├ętournement” has sparse scatterings of bass arpeggios and vocal tics, but its deep pockets are lined with plush, downy pads. As if to counteract the headiness of these two, “Rabulism” is a breezy palate cleanser that dials down propulsive rhythm in favor of soaring synth arcs and snatches of human laughter. Moomin may have snatched 2011 in the end, but Just Love Baby… seems to hint that his Smallville labelmate could be the one to further the classicist deep house sound this year.

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