If in some far-fetched social scenario someone asks you how house music has changed in the latter half of this decade, dig into your MP3 listening device and play them Cassy's Panorama Bar 01 and Simply Devotion. OK, so in broad terms most of us know that deep house replaced minimal, chords superseded bleeps and percussion now hogs the midrange as opposed to glitch, but on a micro level, an auditory example won't come much more lucid. Mixing here for Sven Väth's Cocoon label, Cassy showcases a roll call of key players in this year's race towards classic-leaning deeper house sounds. Much like that previous mix effort back in 2006, Simply Devotion feels very much a product of now.
So what exactly has changed in the last three years? Well for starters, things don't feel half as bleak. It's interesting to note that against a backdrop of supposedly rapid creative development—this was of course minimal boom time—and economic prosperity, the palettes of so many were awash with greys and blacks. And while Simply Devotion does have its more reflective, darkened passages, it's a sunny picnic when juxtaposed with its predecessor. One thing that has remained, however, is Cassy's unfussy mixing style; beautifully functional, if you will. There are a number of transitions such as that between STL's "Silent State" and Danny Howells' "September" in which an elongated fusion is allowed, but in the main, A to B is reached shortly and sweetly.
The set is a mere three tracks young when you detect a sense of twitchiness on Cassy's behalf. Trus'me's "Good God" almost stomps upon the mood of previous cut "Make Your Own Sunshine," but once you warm to the idea of an occasional rapid fire gear change, things start falling into place. Anton Zap and DJ Qu's respective efforts for Uzuri signal a stoking of the fire, which leads into the first full vocal moment courtesy of Kai Alce and Azulu Phantom.
As a sturdy-ish grove begins to present itself, the aforementioned clash between STL and Howells is set up as a palpable mid-point peak by using the time-honoured trick of heightening an impact: The former's fluttering funk tosses the ball into the air only to be smashed by the latter's floor facing bassline. It's a deftly executed manoeuvre—the latter track would sound a touch brash in its own right—and one to which you find yourself nodding in agreement. Perhaps the most engaging section, however, sees Cassy's exclusively recorded "Magnificant Cat Won't Do"—a snarling low-end driven beast—give way to Kassem Mosse's gorgeous "Untitled A1."
Regrettably, things start to become a little unstuck at this juncture. It's not that any of the proffered cuts in the final third are particularly weak—far from it, in fact—more that they tend to push a very similar button—namely the Fender Rhodes. Pierre Lx's "Gabita" is the finest of the bunch and could probably have done with being the finale, but Ralph Falcon's "Whateva" turns up instead and feels a lot like it gate crashed a party just as everyone was reaching for their coats.
On a basic level Simply Devotion falls short of Cassy's last recorded effort, although you could argue that thanks to its breezier outlook and less rugged construction it will be better suited to home listening (for which it was supposedly intended anyway). Whichever way you look at it, though, the Panorama Bar resident almost adeptly nails the year in house music. What that will mean in another three years, however, is anyone's guess.
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Tracklist: Cassy - Simply Devotion 01. Cassy - Simply Intro
02. Baby Ford - Make Your Own Sunshine (Minimal Man Mix)
03. Trus'me - Good God
04. Anton Zap - Spain
05. Jitterbug - No Pressure (DJ Qu Remix)
06. Kai Alce feat. Azulu Phantom - Power Thru Pt 3 (Don't Turn On The Lights)
07. STL - Silent State
08. Danny Howells - September (Future Beat Alliance Remix)
09. Taho - Energy Fields (Quince's Dubbed Out Reconstruction)
10. Cassy - Magnificant Cat Won't Do
11. Kassem Mosse - Untitled A1
12. DJ Qu - The Zones
13. Linkwood - R.I.P
14. Inland Knights - Wanna Be Up
15. Kezym - Washing My Heart
16. Pierre Lx - Gabita
17. Ralph Falcon - Whateva featuring Alan T and Alex K (House Mixx)
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