Various Artists, Workshop 05


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Since 2006, Workshop has released a new EP every six months or so. Sold and distributed by Hard Wax, each EP consists of three untitled tracks, sometimes all by the same artist and sometimes by a varied group. The quality of these releases has been consistently solid: Kassem Mosse’s “Workshop 03” had a stark and gravelly aesthetic that made it a real standout from 2007, and “Workshop 04” boasted some fine ghostly house from Move D, Even Tuell and Sascha Dive. Unfortunately, “Workshop 05” is the weakest installment yet, offering a handful of tracks less varied and intriguing than their predecessors. But it still merits some close attention, featuring a memorable track by Benjaminn Brunn — an artist I personally had yet to hear solo — and a quirky contribution by the mysterious Da Halz.

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The three tracks that make up “Workshop 05” are all cut from the same cloth — sugary, soothing, stripped down tech house. Benjamin Brunn’s contribution focuses on a serene two-chord motif, doused in reverb and pushed along by a perky, compelling rhythm.  Some gentle synth stabs drift in and out, along with some erratic analog streamers that soar and crash. Atmospherically, it recalls the lazy bliss of Songs From the Beehive, his recent collaboration with Move D, but unlike the sprawling semi-ambience of that album, this track is crafted with the DJ in mind. Japanese artist Rising Sun kicks off the B-side, lamely shadowing Brunn’s effort with a pretty but unremarkable afterhours track. Da Halz redeems the B-Side with an off-kilter groove that would take a bit more creativity to drop in a mix. The beat is gentle and plodding, vaguely funky and probably not danceable. In terms of mood, Da Halz follows suit, draping ethereal veils over the percussion’s mechanical clacking. As with the other tracks, this tune’s euphoric drowsiness is better suited to a bedroom mixtape than a weekend DJ set. Overall, “Workshop 05” succeeds in being dreamy and pleasant, but feels lackluster compared to other recent efforts in mollified tech house (Move D’s “Between Us,” Sten’s “Way To The Stars”), and certainly doesn’t live up to the high standard set by the earlier installments in this series.

chrisdisco  on July 29, 2008 at 7:16 PM

brunn has a livepa of his over on his myspace which is worth checking out if you want to hear more of him solo. really great stuff (not sure whether the workshop track is in the pa or not).

Will Lynch  on July 30, 2008 at 7:07 AM

cool, will definitely check it out

Ruari  on October 30, 2010 at 11:51 PM

I heard the Da Halz track out in a highly esteemed Berlin club recently and ran straight up to the DJ to ask what it was. Pitched up a bit and mixed in well it’s a beautiful way to finish up a mornings party :-)

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