No bass, no kick, no problem. Frequent Trapez contributor Patrice Bäumel seems to have been patiently waiting to make his big move over the past few years, releasing a steady stream of tasteful, inventive tech-house stompers and garnering a fair amount of praise along the way. He held a successful residency at the recently closed Club 11 in Amsterdam, was commissioned by Dirt Crew and Riley Reinhold for some well-received remixes, and otherwise held on to the reins of an upwardly arching techno career. Who could have guessed that a DJ tool would put his name in the running for breakthrough artist of the year?
Perhaps it's not entirely fair to call "The Roar" a tool. Sure, it hasn't a kick drum to speak of, but with a running time of six-plus minutes, it twists and turns as much as any track out there. And, as evidenced by its use in Onur Özer's Watergate 01 mix, it can and should be allowed several minutes alone to do its thing. To most that might seem like an awfully long time to lounge around in the midrange just to provide a gentle reminder of what exactly that four-on-the-floor is doing for them. But what makes this break so palatable is…well…the roar.
The track's namesake is actually something more akin to a chainsaw or lawnmower being revved to the brink of mechanical seizure only to be released at the last possible second. The well-deserved rest that comes at regular intervals barely keeps all of the cogs and teeth of the machinery's guts and, for that matter, the delicate minds of a peaking crowd intact. Amidst all this mis-engineering are hearty, hungry-man workforce claps, pressure valve bellows, and a whole lot of delay. If all of this is starting to sound uninviting, then you're missing the point; this kick-less wonder could be 2008's most convincing reminder that all of this minimal-not-minimal-detroit-is-king-laptops-are-evil-vinyl-is-heavy nonsense was at one time supposed to be all about having fun.
On the flip are two solid examples of Bäumel's more typical fare. "Comfortably Uncomfortable" shows off his ability to depict vertical movement with its invariably ascending and descending melodies often traveling in opposite directions at wildly differing intervals. Closing things out is "Clair," which follows a similar agenda but with the heart-tug turned way up, especially once the longing bassline is accompanied by a cinematic string section to bring the cows home or perhaps set the weary sun.
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Tracklist: Patrice Bäumel - RoarA Roar
B1 Comfortably Uncomfortable