The first full-length release on under-the-radar Cologne deep house label ava. feels like a love struck teenage mixtape. Songs vary from 33 seconds to just under six minutes, and the whole ten-track collection wraps up in under half-an-hour. "Exactly what can be achieved in that sort of length?" you might think. Well, a lot, actually. Plenty of ground is covered throughout—from house to funk, soul to boogie, disco to hip-hop. All of the material here is new, but it could just as easily have been culled from some forgotten bargain bin, so genuine are the arrangements, so true are the feel-good vibes.
Though DJs might rue the brevity of infectiously funky tracks like "The Way You Do It" and "Reel Ting," it is that curtness that makes Mister Pink, What Have You Been Smoking so lovable and catchy in the first place. Anyway, everyone knows the best songs are often the shortest—teasing you with a sumptuous morsel then leaving you hanging, desperate for more. Come the end of this album, repeat listens are all but inevitable.
Part of that approach surely comes from label boss Damiano von Erckert's partner for this album, prominent German edit and hip-hop specialist Tito Wun. Rather than working together on tracks, they provide five each. Wun does the interludes that immediately recall vintage soul, earthy Roy Ayres funk and muddied hip-hop, while von Erckert lays down the more structured house jams. And they are jams, particularly "The Dude Loop," with its filtered disco vibes, vivacious horn riffs and euphoric diva wails, and "Hercules in New York," with its bustling, bristling street party atmospheres. This might not be the album you expected from a label that has until now dealt in cloudier, dream-like deep house, but it's one you may find hard not to love.
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Tracklist: Damiano von Erckert and Tito Wun - Mister Pink, What Have You Been Smoking 01. Damiano von Erckert - Leave uuu
02. Damiano von Erckert - The Dude Loop
03. Tito Wun - Apesier (Interlude)
04. Tito Wun - The Way U Do It
05. Tito Wun - Stapelskirt
06. Damiano von Erckert - Hercules in NYC
07. Tito Wun - Reel Ting
08. Tito Wun - Cruzkit (Interlude)
09. Damiano von Erckert -Crackle Shinin'
10. Damiano von Erckert - Good Love For YOU
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