Workshop releases only a few records a year, emphasizing quality over quantity. Luckily for buyers this means each new Workshop record can be bought without hesitation, as there hasn’t been a dud in the bunch. They turn away from whatever may be popular at the time and shoot for longevity, opting for records that reveal themselves over time. After what was, for my money, the best record in the series (the sometimes ethereal, other times ghastly “Workshop 03″), Kassem Mosse steps up once again and give us “Workshop 08″, a contender for the label’s standout release.
The A side is the longest track so far in Workshop’s discography, yet also one of the more thrilling. The deep, muted synth line may rarely change, but the track refuses to stay static. Kassem fiddles with the intensity of the track throughout, building tension with ominous waves of sound, just on the brink of crashing. In fact, the whole thing has an out-to-sea quality to it, conjuring images of an impending storm on the horizon. B1 sounds great at both 33 and 45 (at 45 the sample of Dettmann’s “Lattice” is more apparent), but the proper speed is at a slow, hazy 33. A deep kick drum and dark background ambiance lends a sinister feeling to the track. Oddly timed rhythms and sharp, wobbly synth stabs speed up and down, giving the tune a confusing sense of time. B2 draws the record to a close on a more low key note (despite having what sounds like the fastest BPM). Its a real reflective tune; the soundtrack to the end of a long day or the start of a rainy one. The crisp percussion offsets the moody two note bass line and unstable sounds squirming in the background. Kassem creates many moods over the course of “Workshop 08″ with his distinct, analog sounds, crafting one of my favorite records of the year, to be sure.