His DJ sets are broad and welcoming, nearly every track recognizable in some way. Even when there aren't words, you can often sing along. But somehow he never gets cheesy. Bäumel walks a fine line. This is none more apparent than on his debut full-length, Vapour, a collection of tracks that glow with a dull neon throb. "Sub" splays out cheery bells and moody strings, but never has the sort of moment that kicks it into pop overdrive.
That's by design. Although you're given the choice to listen to it as a continuous mix or a nine track album, you'll most assuredly want to do the former. Bäumel builds Vapour as a DJ set, giving you ups, downs and plenty of in-betweens. Perhaps lost in a casual listen is the minutes of atmosphere here, scene-setting for when the kick emerges to give form to tracks like "The Tease," "Panic" and "Vapour." In creating such a pleasant journey, though, Bäumel declines to provide an obvious highlight. On 12-inches like Roar or Mutant Pop, it was easy to pinpoint the highlight. Here, things remain on a slow boil and then disperse, building to a climax that never actually comes.
In walking that line so carefully, it seems, it was forgotten that sometimes you need to come down heavily on one side or the other to make more of an impact. Bäumel, though, is a rare breed and, despite Vapour not completely living up to expectations, you also have to admire it. In a scene where the album format is a collection of tracks produced while you weren't releasing 12-inches or half-baked experiments with different genres, Vapour stands as a testament to Bäumel's unique position in dance music. Too pop for some, too dance for others. It's fertile ground that isn't being explored by anyone else in the same way.