The Mountain People, Mountain 006

[Mountain People]


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Since launching the Mountain People label to house his homage to The Mole People’s incredible “Break Night,” André (Rozzo and Peter Dildo) Schmid’s tracks under the moniker have gradually dried out, as he’s become a near teetotaler for melody. Considering how lush the imprint started (and was continued by Serafin and Roman Bruderer), it’s quite a contrast when you have to strap on headphones just to hear the silhouette of tone gilding emaciated drum programming. His hotly anticipated latest, “Mountain006,” is the driest yet, bearing resemblance to the similarly subtle “Mountain005.2” (with Serafin), but is surprisingly short on the killer grooves for which Schmid is known.

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The singular riff that’s been wrung of its bouquet of tone with each new track is still the heart of Mountain People, and it thumps with a limp, exhausted tone in “Mountain006.1.” Flecked with snappy hi-hats atwitter, dull cowbell konks, and whispers crawling across stereo channels, the track seems a dusty ghost of its predecessors. “Mountain006.2” has a bit more pulse in both in its swing and vigor, but a muted vibe hit and hiccuped stabs practically need the vocal, which labels the track as “house music,” to convince listeners of what’s wiggling in front of them. Schmid is no stranger to minimalism, but these tracks are barely there and need a great deal of layering to offer even a worthwhile accent. Creating DJ tools can be a risky trade, and Schmid is bold for cutting this close to the bone. Unfortunately, “Mountain 006” shaves off too much sound and spirit to pull its weight in my crate.

brendon moeller  on November 30, 2008 at 7:07 PM

my sentiments exactly steve. well written!

james kartsaklis  on November 30, 2008 at 10:10 PM

we’ve debated this a few times over the past week, and while i hear you, i respectfully disagree with your overall assessment. i don’t want to launch into a stale argument in favor of minimalism, but i do feel that unlike many producers / labels, the tracks that come out on mountain people have a distinct swagger that can be identified sight unseen. i enjoy hearing and playing tracks like this when appropriate, as the sense of forward motion hiding behind a sense of stasis is just so “there.” i really don’t know how else to put it. this same dry template in most other hands would be unlistenable/unmoveable, but i really think that rozzo + co. “get it” and i’ll trust their records so long as they keep putting them out.

Martin Roberts  on December 1, 2008 at 5:40 AM

I completely disagree with this review. The sparseness of both of these tracks just makes them all the more hypnotic. Both sides are great.

eric cloutier  on December 1, 2008 at 7:35 AM

i’m going to agree to disagree with this review. i personally found the sparse, dry production of this ep to bode well for me, both in enjoyment and as a tool on the dancefloors.

i would venture to guess that its far more difficult for people to produce something so warm and heady than to just bang out some presets in ableton and throw a few random, despondent patterns together.

littlewhiteearbuds  on December 1, 2008 at 8:41 AM

I heard Dan Bell try out “Mountain 006.2” on Friday and it felt flat for me. I also couldn’t help but notice he only played it for two minutes before switching to something more engaging.

Some of this comes down to personal taste, I’ll admit. But I don’t buy the reasoning that the tracks’ sparseness makes them more “hypnotic.” If anything, a fuller track (something along the lines of the first Mountain People, or even “005.2”) would be more hypnotic because there would be more to get lost in. Something this skinny makes me realize even more how much time is passing. *checks watch*

James is right in that it is definitely a distinct Rozzo/Mountain People track which puts it a head above many producers trying to do something similar. With how excellent the label has been to date, though, I expect something more from his tracks.

eric cloutier  on December 1, 2008 at 9:05 AM

i will admit that i wish this track built itself up more over the seven or so minutes of its length. its kind of a linear loop that leaves itself to land more as a tool and a third-table track than standing on its own alone, so i can understand why dan exited the track as quickly as possible.

its a fun transition piece than can reset the mood of a set though – thrown in at the right time, you can reboot everyones ears and feet and start fresh without motoring down and trying again.

harpomarx42  on December 1, 2008 at 10:48 AM

006.1 = Sounds like Barem – Cilindro mixed with Mara Trax – The Rhythm.

006.2 = Marginally better, but still better for the home stereo or bedroom rave. And yes…we have the tired old ‘House Music’
sample.

006.3 = This one’s not bad, but it’s still just another dime-a-dozen Detroit homage.

When oh when will we see something new and exciting in this troubled world of dance? Haven’t we stuck ourselves to the past for long enough?

littlewhiteearbuds  on December 1, 2008 at 12:59 PM

“When oh when will we see something new and exciting in this troubled world of dance? Haven’t we stuck ourselves to the past for long enough?”

Except that’s not the problem with this release at all.

harpomarx42  on December 1, 2008 at 3:29 PM

If not with this release, then with many others in its vein.

james kartsaklis  on December 1, 2008 at 4:23 PM

just picked up the new rozzo record today (http://www.wordandsound.de/article/56644) and am admittedly feeling it more than i am the mountain people 06.

however, i stand by what i said about the new mountain people 😉

Heartbeat  on December 2, 2008 at 2:00 AM

When I checked that one out of the record store, my dissapointement was even greater than my excitement before pulling it out of the sleeve.

What makes house and electronic music so interesting, even to people who are not fond of it, is the recognizable atmosphere and “pâte” that certain artists know how to create… And it’s a shame to see people who know how to achieve this wonder settling for less. (?)

It might be a tough judgement… but it’s surely because the precedent releases were so good. After all, there is not so many labels that manage so many excellent releases in a row. I say we give Rozzo and Co. a little time before we claim Mountain has collapsed…

Tony  on December 2, 2008 at 4:26 AM

i too found it hard to be entertained through the duration of both side of this M-people release despite being a big supporter of most of the previous tunes. neverethless i did find solace in rozzo’s new peace division remix on tsuba…. anyone requiring compensation check that for a groove.

Martin Roberts  on December 2, 2008 at 4:44 AM

Some of this comes down to personal taste, I’ll admit. But I don’t buy the reasoning that the tracks’ sparseness makes them more “hypnotic.” If anything, a fuller track (something along the lines of the first Mountain People, or even “005.2″) would be more hypnotic because there would be more to get lost in.

– I don’t agree – The hypnotic feel of these tracks are derived from the emptiness of them. It’s like the best horror films are those that make you fill in the gaps with your imagination.

The power of minimalism is that it allows tiny details to become huge features. the minimal argument is now a tired one, but I believe that the new ‘deep’ sounds that are currently prominent in the scene can only be effective if producers learn the lessons that minimal have taught us – that’s what I think these tracks properly achieve.

philip sherburne  on December 2, 2008 at 12:14 PM

haven’t heard the 12″. the track streaming here sounds… ok. it’s good! and i’m sure it’d be a lot of fun to mix with, and i may actually go out and get a copy; it’s the kind of groove tool that i enjoy having around. the only thing that bugs me is that it sounds *so* much like melchior, right down to the inflection on the “house music” sample (doesn’t he have one saying the same thing?). it’s really well done — i wish *i* could do a melchior tribute half as well — but i’m still missing something. i like mountain people a lot, but their style, in some ways, is a curious absence of a style, a sort of hole right where you expect to find their defining motif.

eric cloutier  on December 3, 2008 at 9:03 AM

part of me has a problem with people saying that mountain people #1 was so amazing, because its just a remake of “break night” by the mole people (aka armand van helden). well, the one side is…

personally, if you want to split hairs about it, the serafin record (mountain people #2) is my personal favourite.

petepete  on December 3, 2008 at 3:33 PM

for me, it’s not about how hypnotic or minimal it is, because when the groove is this good, does anything else need to happen? it’s like villalobos – farenzer house in that sense, when i saw luciano last year he played it from start to finish, and a few of my friends were complaining, ‘can you please put something else on now’, but i couldn’t get enough. there’s obviously a lot of boring minimal tracks but in my opinion these boys have the groove that warrants these very sparse tracks, it is their defining motif, if i’m allowed to quote p sherburne. i mean, everything rozzo/serafin/mountain people have done this year has had that same kind of groove, and although it might be getting formulaic, i still think that a lot of DJs would love to have a track of theirs in their box every month.

overall though, i must agree, not mountain people’s best work. maybe they’ve been spending time skiing now that the snow’s falling?

Trackbacks

Little White Earbuds » The Mountain People, Mountain007  on March 19, 2009 at 6:12 AM

[…] of nearly all nourishing elements, leaving little for even some ardent supporters (myself included) to admire. Although the characteristic abundance of the first few Mountain People releases is […]

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