House, done properly.
DJ Fett Burger had a particularly strong run of collaborations between 2012 and 2014 on Sex Tags UFO, from feisty disco burners with DJ Grillo Weiner to tropical house delights with Telephones. But the glittering jewel was a slice of oddball house called "Speckbass." Its co-creator was Phillip Lauer in disguise as DJ Speckgürtel, and the track title suggested it was his input that provided the magic ingredient—a slice of brilliantly rendered slap bass that elevated an already stellar house track into one of those truly head-turning, shock-out dance floor moments, its exuberant energy best soaked up in the open air.
Six years on, DJ Fett Burger and Lauer are back with an album's worth of new material, wisely timed for the summer, and it's pleasing to note that wonderful bass sound has made a comeback too. A luxurious slab of poppin' and slappin' low-end funk comes sliding into the moody workout "Enjoy This Limousine," and the same tone takes on a spacious quality on the beatless album closer, "Sonnen Ambiente." It's a nice nod to the spark that lit their initial collaboration up so effectively, but it's not relied on too heavily either.
What does come across is the strong identity of the processed slap bass sound as a signifier of a musical era (in this case the 1980s). It's not the only one. There's punchy organ bass and sax (that could be from a DX7) on "Harpo," airy new age choral stabs on "Sunshine In The Limousine" and rave hits on "Ibiza Ritter." Everyone has easy access to these familiar sounds these days, but the secret lies in how they're deployed.
Often, Fett Burger and Lauer build up rich and dynamic club tracks that would be fine left as they are, and then fire off a show-stealing riff. But it's not just about coming up with a snappy hook—it's the way an iconic sound is buffed up and presented in the mix, punchy, gleaming and proud, as though Fett Burger and Lauer want to display their deepest reverence for this blessed tone and all the wonderful tracks it has graced in the past.
You can feel the musicality pouring out of this collaboration too—the harmonic detail in every track is incredibly satisfying on the ears, and there's a full-fat approach to the arrangements that packs in layers of percussion and zippy FX with plenty of space for the core rhythm section and some sort of instrumental tryst. There are a few dips. The piled-on bombast of "Sting Collins" is too saccharine for my tastes, and the ravey acid intensity of "6Drops (Technocid Mix)" sounds a little sharp-edged within a predominantly feel-good album, but they're still remarkably classy jams.
Red Scorpions is unabashed house music that celebrates its '80s and '90s influences without a whiff of irony—it's a comfortable creative zone for Fett Burger made all the more potent by Lauer's presence. At a time when throwback sounds can feel so unnecessary and overplayed, the quality of a record like this shines through. It's just another house record, sure, but it's executed with finesse. It's the kind of album that reminds you why you love the genre and the classic sounds synonymous with it.