Dplay, Huub Sand

[Running Back]

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Running Back, managed by journalist, DJ, occasional producer and all-round good guy Gerd Janson, had a great 2008, cherry-picking three superb records by Mark E, Move D and Radio Slave. Quality over quantity seemed to be the year’s motto, but in 2009 the Frankfurt-based label has managed the trick of combining the two, with four fine releases in the first half of this year: The Melchior-esque “Forward Snipping” by Robert Dietz, the frankly ridiculous limited edition “The Voice From Planet Love” from Precious System, and a forthcoming disco smasher by Hamburg’s Tensnake all have their merits, but the real pick of the bunch has been Dplay’s “Huub Sand.”

In case the record sleeve doesn’t make it clear, the record is a tribute to two of German soccer team Schalke 04’s best loved alumni: their former coach Huub Stevens, and prodigious goalscorer Ebbe Sand. A solid bass drum, a brooding riff and rising synth tones make the title track the kind of moody banger that Lawrence should make more often. If “Huub Sand” is a reliable, 20 goal-a-season striker, then “Tschaka” on the flip is the supremely talented winger who can turn a match on its head. The sort of looping disco record that Sound Stream made his name with, this is the ubiquitous club hit that you won’t actually grow sick of hearing every time you go out. If “Schroulé” is outshone by its more gifted teammates, then it still has a place as the versatile utility player that every side needs. Its claustrophobic bass riff fights through a jungle of growling, chattering percussion without ever actually making an escape. The final score? Dplay’s “Huub Sand” is the best techno record about football since Reinhard Voigt’s banging “Robson Ponte.”

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