Roaming, Believe In Reflecting

[Smallville Records]

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For the past year or so, Moomin has existed on his own planet. It’s not too difficult to envision the living conditions of said extraterrestrial habitat — picture a dusty, mountain-locked cabin with the only source of warmth arriving through kinetic energy emitted by one of those old-timey gramophones, except this one only ever spins Theo Parrish 12″s. Sure, it’s a bubble that has admittedly been inhabited by quite a few throughout history, but it’s proven especially ideal for the Berlin producer, with a damn-near classic LP and an endless clip of choice singles since his understated arrival on the scene. For this most recent release, he’s invited into his realm the closest thing to a contemporary, Smallville cohort Christopher Rau, for a collaborative effort on that same label. And while expectedly deep, the result doesn’t quite bear the same weight that either has plied as of late.

“Our Dream Of…” discharges a hollow-boned rhythm, setting a staunch backbone before an achingly sexual kick-vocal pairing gropes the proceedings. The duo’s penchant for restraint is well on display, as they refrain until the three-minute mark to unleash the track’s reveal: a blanketed trumpet howl, set so far in the distance that you’d have to assume its origin is sometime in the last century. This sense of cautiously subdued sensuality is also carried over to the title track, an aimless jaunt through floaty synth stutters and spatial piano stabs. Any doubt that this release is their attempt at drawing offhand parallels between deep house and cool jazz should be put to rest with the arrival of Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmas Time Is Here.” Yes, that “Christmas Time Is Here,” from the Charlie Brown soundtrack, layered unaltered directly on top of the track. It’s a rather nonsensical move until you take a second to envision the surely batty looks it’s likely to draw from punters during these waning days of summer. A bit of the meandering nature is redeemed via a Smallpeople remix, nestled next to the original on the flip. Sharing no likeness to its namesake, the label heads tread closer to the pretty-yet-propulsive nature on which they’ve garnered their reputation. It almost serves to remind us that as far as they’re willing to let Roaming venture outside the box, they’ll still be there to reign us back into this stratosphere.

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