Johannes Heil, Aum

[Metatron House Division]

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With his latest release on Metatron House Division, Johannes Heil delivers two exceptional tracks which reflect a knack for composition as well as production. “Aum” and “Soul Made” both slip right past the ten minute mark, but Heil’s songwriting (for lack of a better term) is shrewd enough to keep things fresh throughout. The former is bare and repetitive to awe-inducing effect, while the latter is multifarious and thoroughly ornate. As an EP, “Aum” is strongly visual and wonderfully varied — certainly worth a listen for fans of house’s trippier variety.

“Aum” has a resoundingly spiritual motif; the track builds itself around a deep and melodious chant, with the title often swelling into shape. It’s a successful stab at what could have easily sounded clichéd and overblown, and the result is oddly moving. On the drums, Heil gets impressive mileage out of some very simple percussive elements, pairing a modest bass kick with ordinary claps and high hats, all of which contrast nicely with the sonorous vocals. It’s contemplative and compelling, and certainly not without club appeal. “Soul Made” is a little more traditional, with funkier beats and a livelier vibe. Nonetheless, it is an unpredictable track that starts out sounding stark and textural but slowly develops into a full-blown house number, complete with epic R&B vocals and satisfying breakdowns. Either track would serve a DJ very well, but both progress in a way that makes them notably self-sufficient, with intros and outros that manage to sound expressive rather than utilitarian. Overall, a very strong pair of tracks whose intricacies and subtle emotion will continue to reveal themselves after dozens of spins. (post by Will Lynch)

jeremy  on September 29, 2008 at 10:34 PM

i completely agree. this song could so easily have been so bad (that beat! those drum sounds! that sample!) but somehow, some way, johannes heil keeps coming up with funky ass shit like every single day

eric cloutier  on September 30, 2008 at 7:00 AM

i think i could do without the chanting, but the rest of it is pretty choice. it worked well in seth troxler’s bunker podcast from the yard a few weekends ago, but i can see it being one of those “i can play this once and then i need to delete it” moments.

johannes heil does a great job of keeping people guessing.

Sam  on September 30, 2008 at 10:08 AM

…But without the chanting there’s only the (very sparse) drum programming, no? Not sure that would be totally satisfying IMO. Still, I like it *with* the chanting, as it seems to build some kind of anticipation throughout. This would work well as a set opener, but later in the night after a few “openers” had got things going a bit – or would work to build out of a mid-set transition, from mellower tunes into a more full on thing. I like it, although it does verge on cheese (as stated already), and from my experience these kind of tracks (sometimes) *can* be the result of a producer being a bit lazy at the wheel.

eric cloutier  on September 30, 2008 at 11:07 AM

i could see it growing on me, but for the time being it just seems out of place and over-the-top.

then again, play me this same track at 6a when i’m totally faced and i bet i end up screaming and dancing like a madman…

james kartsaklis  on September 30, 2008 at 1:30 PM

not into it, but def agreed w/ eric’s last comment

Joe  on September 30, 2008 at 4:03 PM

the drum programming is amazing…i’d be quite happy with just a drumtrack from this!
especially 5.30 onwards…so infectious.

i’d love to hear radio slave’s take on this track.

Will Lynch  on October 1, 2008 at 7:11 AM

Radio Slave could definitely pull this off…

Rod  on October 6, 2008 at 5:31 AM

I guess as well this track will work fine at 6 am.

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