Johanna Knutsson & Hans Berg, Vintergatan EP

Pintura_habitada_1976
“Pintura Habitada (1976)” by Helena Almeida

[Crime City Disco]


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As I’ve noted in the past, Crime City Disco’s mission to release “deep, slow, and disco-influenced” house is hardly unique. And yet, the Berlin-based outfit has continued to carve out a decent niche for itself, thanks to the quirky predilections of its Swedish owner, Tobias Gullberg. In the hands of someone else, the label might have gone super serious, but it instead remains lighthearted and fun. Record eight, Vintergatan, (“Galaxy”) sees this merry outlook trained further skyward than anything since Nils W’s “Bladerunner Soul,” back in 2011.

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The result doesn’t feel too much like house or disco, really. “Sjörök” in particular shares more in common with the work of artists like Dominik Eulberg and Extrawelt, and their ethereal, modern takes on techno. Like those producers, though, third-time collaborators Johanna Knutsson and Hans Berg exercise enough restraint that their swathes of trickling arpeggios and cosmic chords sit just right, rather than succumbing to proggy bombast. The cut’s gentle, spaced-out currents are all the more potent for this understatement.

Aiming for a more driving sound, “Vintergatan” strips back the fetching complexity of “Sjörök” for a simpler chord progression. A little too simple, perhaps. While the final quarter is well lifted by more of those colorful arpeggios, it seems like even just a few bars of them could have had a real effect elsewhere, without detracting from track’s overall propulsive vibe. Despite this small point, there’s a very tangible sense of unself-conscious fun on display. In both cuts, actually. Maybe it’s just me, but fun and simplicity triumph easily over the tracky, pseudo-sophistication cultivated by so many of Crime City Disco’s peers.

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Little White Earbuds January Charts 2014 – Little White Earbuds  on February 7, 2014 at 2:24 AM

[…] Wilner 01. Johanna Knutsson & Hans Berg, “Vintergatan” [Crime City Disco] 02. Actress, “Rap” [Werkdiscs] 03. The Citizen’s Band, […]

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