Jimpster's Freerange Records has had a busy year or so releasing a string of beautiful deep house cuts, with beautifully emotive sounds ranging from the lush melodicism of Kyodai's "Mi Rhumba" to the funky strut of Andre Crom's "Tell Me." The London label's latest, the Munich/Berlin EP, keeps that trend (which, truthfully, dates back to Freerange's beginnings in the late '90s) intact.
Produced by the Wazi Wazi label's Nils Penner, the EP is framed as an ode to the German's producer's two home-base cities—though he must know something about Munich that we don't, as we've never thought the town as a hotbed of stripped-down, spine-tingling beauty. But that's exactly what the EP's "Munich" supplies, via its simple rhythmic template, undulating bass tone, shimmering vocal sample and dreamy keys, all sitting beneath a quivering string pad. It's a hypnotic groover that conjures an almost imperceptible tautness, one that's only broken by a buzzing minor-key synth line that adds a hefty slab of meat to the cut's bones at the midway point.
The track's "No Lies Ad Infinitum" remix, from Chicago phenom Savile, manages a neat trick: Using the original's elements, it's as laidback and delicate as the original, yet it's imbued with a sense of foreboding—thanks to a tough DJ Pierre-style kick pattern, subtle effects and a slow-burn build that amps up the original's tension. Finally, there's "Berlin," which utilizes much the same elements as "Munich" (vocal snippet, heavenly strings, muted keys) but trades its plaintive aura in for a lightly boogie-fied feel, largely through the addition of a disco-funky synth-bass. It's the capper to a great year for Freerange, and bodes well for the burgeoning career of the talented Penner.
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Tracklist: Nils Penner - Munich/Berlin EP A1 Munich
B Munich (Savile Remix)