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Tiefschwarz - Misch Masch

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Artist: Tiefschwarz

Album: Misch Masch

Label: Fine

Review date: Apr. 22, 2005

Tiefschwarz means “deep black" in German, a term that plays on the surname of its two members – brothers Ali & Basti Schwarz. But the moniker also has the slick patina of inconspicuous consumption: Prada bag, Bentley ride, Richter canvas. Then there’s the new American Express black card and accompanying monthly magazine, both exclusively available to members with massive accounts. Affluence is less showy when tinted. Certainly, "deep house" also fits into the etymology of Tiefschwarz’s name, but the genre itself has fallen in with bling due to its association with runways, private beaches and Wallpaper*. But posh or not, Tiefschwarz thankfully eschew flaunt for funk.

Misch Masch is a double-disc set comprising the duo’s first mix CD and a “bonus” that eclipses its neighbor, a collection of 11 remixes by the pair. Though they haven’t released an album in the three years since their debut, RAL 9005, there’s been plenty of knob twisting and toggle tango both in the group’s Stuttgart studio and on their numerous DJ sets across Europe.

The plastic A-side rolls like a mirrorball. The 16-track glide is so smooth, the few chinks – Think Twice mouthing off, Drama Society's ill-fitting New Order makeover at the hands of Tiga – pass largely unnoticed. The work of dancefloor erudites, Misch Masch finds Tiefschwarz testing the same templates and textures that continually resurface in their remixes: disco dealing trebly hi-hats, hard techno snares and shimmering synth swishes. A rolodex of EU bump with the occasional American contribution, MIsch Masch evinces the maxing out of dance music in opposition to the slinky flow of all micro forms. LFO slither, digital handclaps and laser flares combine for a stout blend.

The Tiefschwarz fingerprints are far greasier on Eleven Remixes. Throughout, the duo takes armchair textiles – Micatone’s jazzy lite pop, the schmaltzy Trüby Trio – and swathe them in metallic gradients with neon swooshes. Calibrated for precise bounce and pulse, a broad range of needle chug is presented: Unit 4’s “Body Dub” percolates, Phoenique’s “The Red Dress” tunnels, Djtal's "Digital World" pumps, and, broadly cited as ’04s banner remix, Spektrum’s “Kinda New” struts on fat bleeps. After the all-too-loud complaints of Daft Punk's cold robotics on Human After All, there's plenty of hot blood on Misch Masch to get the party (re)started.

By Bernardo Rondeau

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