Tristen/Edward, Along These Strings/Calm

[White]


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More than any other label I know, the Berlin-based White is the antithesis of the white label culture that’s bubbled up over the last few years. Where white label producers obscure their identity, ostensibly to keep the focus on the music, White brings audiences literally face to face with its artists care of record sleeves adorned with their pictures. Considering their manifesto of “foster[ing] an environment for young artists to play and work, create and destroy,” I suspect their aesthetic is not the result of runaway egos but rather an attempt to reconnect in an era rife with music lacking personality and labels that do little to stand out. The label’s eighth release features the mug of Tristen, a long time member of the White crew who makes his vinyl debut, and Edward, the imprint’s most prolific producer. His first release for the label, “Raw Structure,” counted Âme among its most notable fans and found its way onto the duo’s Fabric mix (and was used to spectacular effect, I might add). Coincidentally, an undercurrent of Âme’s influence runs through “Along These Strings/Calm.”

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Tristen’s first track is a cautious affair that falls in line with a lot of contemporary house. Dusty percussion loops salted with tambourine shakes set the stage for the quivering, Wild Pitch-esque strings referenced in the track’s title to thicken the air with tension. Tristen unrolls thick, glimmering pads that break apart into descending arpeggios before congealing again and disappearing into the ether. It’s a decent first attempt that could feasibly warm up a crowd, and I have high hopes that future cuts will leave “Along These Strings” feeling amateurish. Edward’s “Calm” offers a more nuanced take on a similar theme of pairing anxious elements with soothing pads. Incessant marsupial chatter nips at the heels of chunky percussion swimming in sustained organ chords, all the while a woman deadpans the track’s title, as if to emphasize the contradictions. Like the A side, “Calm” is up to the task of keeping dancers in motion but it’s not a dazzler. And when compared with Edward’s previous tracks, all of which find their own distinct path through techno and house, “Calm” falls to the back of the pack, zeitgeisty and somewhat disposable. White label producers have one certain benefit that eludes the White stable: being able to walk away from one’s less successful records with nary a trace.

DT  on November 4, 2009 at 2:15 PM

its deep but unimaginative, the song has been done a hundred times and keeps on working – so keep on keepin on, but without real innovation you will simply slip into the vast tundra of acceptable, nice, easy going deep house which lacks longevity but does possess the temporary niceness of a cheap ice cream or cup of tea.

MR D  on November 4, 2009 at 6:47 PM

in house music it’s not about innovation. it’s about feeling it.
i love this record

Steve  on November 4, 2009 at 7:13 PM

It’s good you feel it, but I can’t say that I did. My head nodded, my foot tapped, but I never felt more than that.

Anton  on November 4, 2009 at 8:51 PM

I like parts of this record a lot more than others. The “Along These Strings” drum loop sounds a bit too close to Moodymann’s “I Can’t Kick This Feeling” for my tastes. The strings are nice but not enough to sustain it, especially when it’s nearly 10 minutes long. I see potential…

Edward’s “Calm” just doesn’t approach his best work, it’s too simple. I like that it’s adjacent to stuff from Rozzo, but he doesn’t quite take it there.

Joey  on November 5, 2009 at 2:21 AM

I think this is one of the better records this month. Compared to all the other shit coming out recently…
I’d say, this record stands out.
Love Tristen’s minimal but yet deep groove. It is reduced to the core essence of a good deep house tune. I can picture myself spinning it closer to prime than Anton actually does.
Personally I have so much love for the label. They are releasing very good deep music with beautiful artworks.
I almost own every release.

Keep the good work up!

jonhnie W  on November 5, 2009 at 9:42 AM

wow what a failure of a “writer” pretentious , pompous and ingnorant.
.. get a job a mc donalds
youll do better there.
this record is awesome..

Steve  on November 5, 2009 at 10:20 AM

I approached this record from a critical standpoint with which you can agree or disagree. Lobbing insults at me isn’t going to change my position or anyone else’s.

Anton  on November 5, 2009 at 10:54 AM

@jonhnie W

You are writing as if I had completely trashed the record when I said it was decent. My job is not to boost producers’ self-esteem but to critically evaluate their work, which is what I’ve done here.

Olipher  on November 5, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Considering your tenuous grasp of English grammar, jonhnie, I’d suggest you check yourself before trashing a writer for not agreeing with you.

tristen  on November 5, 2009 at 1:35 PM

To me this review is a little bit hard to read (as I am the producer). But stop hating that kind of people which are more independent about music-reviews than a lot of paper magazine journalists. so, keep up the good work LWE.

littlewhiteearbuds  on November 5, 2009 at 1:38 PM

Thanks for your support, Tristen. We look forward to your forthcoming releases!

Steve  on November 5, 2009 at 1:46 PM

I appreciate the vote of confidence, Tristen. It’s rarely fun to give a less than positive review knowing it’s someone’s hard work and effort, but I do it knowing it could provide perspective the artists do not have while making the tunes.

Hearing what you are capable of on your first time out assures me you are a producer worth checking. Watch this space!

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uberVU - social comments  on November 6, 2009 at 3:57 AM

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This post was mentioned on Twitter by lilwhiteearbuds: Corrected: Anton Kipfel reviews Tristen/Edward’s “Along These Strings/Calm” on White: http://is.gd/4Na7C

Little White Earbuds April Charts 2014 – Little White Earbuds  on May 2, 2014 at 10:29 AM

[…] Tristen, “Streets Of” [Aim] (buy) A few years ago I reviewed Tristen’s debut track, “Along These Strings,” I found his work promising but still in need of development. […]

Steve Mizek’s Year In Dance Music 2014 – Little White Earbuds  on January 20, 2015 at 5:38 PM

[…] Pictures From Above [Aim] (buy) The first time I reviewed a record by Tristen in 2009 I wrote, “I have high hopes that future cuts will leave ‘Along These Strings’ [the […]

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