Steinhoff & Hammouda, Touch

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[Smallville Records]


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As one of the founders of the Smallville Records retail store and record label, Hamburg’s Julius Steinhoff has a proven ear for quality when it comes to forward-thinking dance music. The same refined taste can be detected in Steinhoff’s handful of collaborations with Abdeslam Hammouda (and, in this case, Dionne as well). Last year’s “Tonight Will Be Fine” EP was built of cottony hums, cascading melodies, and patient grooves. Their sophomore EP offers warm, deep house to get lost in — a perfect compliment to the immersive, deep techno of the year’s other Smallville release. The undeviating repetitions of the title track’s cheap-sounding piano stabs lend a touch of minimal, but also summon a cloud of magician’s smoke, diverting our attention from developing modulations in the percussion that discretely reward a full play to the end. By the time the sunny, “woo-woo” vocals begin five minutes in, we only faintly perceive how far we’ve come.

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Personal preference selects the B-side as my favorite, with Connecticut appraiser of Underground Quality Jus-Ed turning in a remix of last year’s “You Are.” His mix manages, through editing and layering, to enhance the original’s already formidable hypnotic power. At the same time, by replacing the original’s brushed-sounding percussion with blipping tech-house beats, the remix asserts a more urgent dance tempo. The pairing of smoldering analog grooves and determined analog rhythms puts me in mind of Ed’s pal Cassy Britton — and not only because of the Roland cowbell. An inspired transformation of the material, I’m hoping Jus-Ed and Smallville will keep the communication channels open for future projects.

JonnyP  on July 23, 2009 at 1:51 PM

one of my favourite house releases of the year. smallville are on a roll.

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