The Masters Series: Tiefschwarz Double CD
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Renaissance are proud to announce that Tiefschwarz have stepped up to compile the latest instalment of their 'The Mix Collection' series. With a DJ and production career spanning over 16 years, releases on Cocoon, Wave Music, Souvenir and remix work as far ranging as Depeche Mode, Roxy Music, Booka Shade, Madonna and Plastikman it seemed a perfect fit to bring their wide set of influences together for a set of two mixes. CD 1 kicks off with an introduction from Tiefschwarz themselves before quickly delving into the uplifting sounds of Clarian and Axel Boman. Richard Fearless’ remix of Bot'ox’s ‘Basement of Love’ and Ewan Pearson’s Bachar Mar-Khalife remix focuses the groove, while the vocals on Michael Mayer’s ‘Good Times’ and the beautiful Eric Volta & Jonny Cruz’s ‘Sunrise’ provide euphoric highs. The ominous territory of Spada’s ‘Norah’ and Mario Basanov’s ‘Red Line’ work in perfect contrast to the tropical sounds of Acid Pauli & Laura Weider’s ‘Oregano’ and Knox’s blissful ‘Mornings’ - precisely the sort of stylistic shifts you’d expect from the veteran duo. CD 2 is a mix of contrasts. Ruede Hagelstein’s ‘Detuned’ acts as a statement of intent, followed by upbeat cuts from Terranova, Hanfry Martinez & Javier Carballo, Daze Maxim and Slove before Dauwd’s ‘Heat Division’ takes a step back from the dancefloor. Next up are previous Renaissance contributors Tale Of Us, whose ‘Another Earth’ features before Tiefschwarz’ own ‘Voices’ (exclusive to this mix album). The near-indecipherable vocals of Elon’s ‘Andres’ blend seamlessly into Mathew Jonson’s ‘Automaton’, while the acid-tinged textures of Sonodab’s ‘Dose Rhythm’ sit perfectly with Jay Haze’s rerub of ‘Don't Rush’ by Michal Ho. Kenny Leaven’s ‘Rocket’ is an intense gateway to the serene ‘11 a.m. (After)’ by Marco Freivogel, which acts as a beautiful closer for a pair of mixes that explore all areas of the mind, not just the body.
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It has a promising start, with the first seven tracks of Disc 1 offering up a dark blend of classical minimal against deep house funk, the mixture set to a low simmer. This really gets going in "All Moving Over The Earth," a track with a catchy and insistent grimness that plays nicely off of the preceding ups and downs.
At this point, the set completely collapses under a poorly chosen vocal track. Vocals are tricky when it comes to EDM. It's hard to find any that don't detract from the music. "Good Times" features atonal fellows attempting awkward falsettos over mind-numbingly repetitive lyrics to "have a good time." The next few tracks meander around without doing anything to revive the spirit before decaying even further under the horribly arranged "Royal Asscher Cut," a minimal track that features the ear-grating whines of overlapping squawks. It sounds like two clowns with broken squeeze horns are honking them at each other without any rhyme or reason. Just an awful track.
The set suddenly finds the plot again with "Norah" and "Oregano," both of which bring back that twisty cone of deep funk and airy trance minimal. "Red Lines" makes it sound like Tiefschwarz is going to bring it down to a gritty finale, but the closing track, "Knox's "Mornings" -- while a beautiful piece -- is a bittersweet alterna-anthem that sounds both unfinished and completely out of place.
Disc Two opens with more of that grim magic with "Detuned" as well as a few very well paced darker pieces ("Vamos Mi Nino" is a standout here, as well as "Flash"), but it stumbles, as before, on a few poorly arranged bits of atonal nonsense ("Gotham" and Tiefschwarz's own "Voices" are the ones I liked least).
Even if Disc Two seems to have more of the alienating weirdness that is hard to get a toe-hold (or ear-hold, I guess) on, at least the tone is more consistent. Unfortunately, the set closes, once again, on a strangely placed vocal track, although this one kinda sorta seems more fitting than "Mornings" did in the first disc.
A curious mix, the set has its fair share of bright spots, but it's just too uneven to merit a full recommendation.
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