VA: Saturday, I'm In Love

VA: What We Did & What We Do (Mixed by Oliver Koletzki & Florian Meindl)
Stil Vor Talent

The compilation Saturday, I'm In Love makes a powerfully convincing argument in favour of the relatively young imprint Diynamic. The two-year-old Hamburg-based label spreads a flawless collection of underground house and techno cuts across two discs, the first a nine-track set of unreleased, exclusive originals and the second a retrospective mix by label figurehead Mladen Solomun. The seventy-minute “unmixed” first half offers more than its fair share of pleasures. Things start unassumingly enough with the easily swinging strut of Solomun & Stimming's “Lemniskate” but the grooves toughen up as the minutes roll on. It's trumped, however, by the burbling techno-funk of Jay Shepheard's “Beast Regards” whose marching parade of handclaps, trippy synth flourishes, and bass-prodded swing hits all the right notes. Cuts by Paulo Olarte (the vaguely Latinized tech-house stormer “Numeros Rotos”), Trickski (the hot-wired “Your Lonely Nites”), and Solar & Poppcke (the lithe dub-techno charger “Night Train”) also appear but disc one's highlight is Ost & Kjex's “Sicksnack,” a snappy roller-coaster ride of springy house pulses and soulful falsetto vocals that's unlike anything else on Saturday, I'm In Love. The tune's feverish soul-funk pulse roars with single-minded determination until a dubbed-out melodica momentarily stops it in its tracks before the groove picks itself up and races deliriously home.

Focusing on tracks by Solomun, H.O.S.H., and Stimming, Solomun's jacking disc two mix offers a fabulous tour through the Diynamic vaults with nary a weak moment in sight. Jackmate's remix of Solomun & Gebrüder Ton's “Tagesschau” gets the trip off on the good foot by scattering string pizzicatos and choir punctuations over a booming pulse, and it's all clear sailing from then on, and remixers Jimpster, Anja Schneider, Jerome Sydenham, Guido Schneider, and Motorcitysoul work their magic too. Highlights are plentiful: the backbeat charge and dubby broil of H.O.S.H.'s “Themes, Rhythms and Harmonies”; the slinky thump of Stimming's “Liberaos”; the declamatory, dub-inflected stampede of Solomun's “Flying Pics” and Kollektiv Turmstrasse's “Mileu”; Jerome Sydenham's light-speed makeover of H.O.S.H.'s “Steppenwolf”; and H.O.S.H.'s African juju-meets-house throwdown “Drums of Spring.” Don't miss either the lush organ breakdown that snakes through the middle of Stimming & H.O.S.H.'s tripped-out “Radar,” the snappy funk-bass that ignites Stimming's “Funkworm,” and the anthemic house storm of Motorcitysoul's remix of Solomun & Stimming's “Eiszauber.” Bubbly house grooves, handclapping funk rumble, dubby flourishes, soulful techno—it's all here in spades as the precision-tooled mix stokes a relentless charge for a breathless eighty minutes. The two discs constitute a veritable embarrassment of riches, all things considered.

At three years and counting, Oliver Koletzki's Stil vor Talent label is young too. The Berlin-based imprint's What We Did & What We Do is conceived as a birthday present to fans, with the first disc's mix (sixteen exclusives that showcase the label's present and future) helmed by Koletzki and the second disc's (sixteen previously issued cuts) by Florian Meindl. Naturally tracks by the two DJs are included in the mixes but the gentlemen generously share the wealth with a sprawling roster of Stil vor Talent associates (interestingly, H.O.S.H. also surfaces in this collection with three choice cuts). Compared to the Diynamic release, What We Did & What We Do is a more prototypical minimal techno collection with the emphasis largely on clubby grooves and the melodic dimension secondary. It's inarguably impeccably produced and assembled but its tracks are melodically lean and therefore not as memorable; consequently the mixes argue their cases more through the urgency of their beat thrust than through the strength of the individual cuts' personalities. Even so, there's no denying the forceful snarl of David Keno's “Adore,” the cheekily brain-addled “Monday” by Hirtenfellner & Philip Bader (whose warped strut approximates the brutal Monday morning headache suffered by the out-of-control weekender), and the slinky charm of Lexy's voice-shredding on “Fancy Girl.” Fueled by funky synthesizer melodies, Koletzki's own “Since You Are Gone” is definitely a disc one highlight (it's neatly joined at the hip to Kai Kurve's piano-inflected romp “Peppermint Patty”) and the first half ends strongly with Juli Holz's melancholy vocal-and-piano track “Der Letzte Tanz. ” Meindl's half gets off to a grooving start with his own bleepy steamroller “Sputnik” (his first single for the label) before diving into similarly mobile cuts by Channel X (the banging minimal house track “Black Coffee”), Johnjon (the synth stormer “Ach Gewitter”), and a trio of stoked Format B tracks (the ultra-raving “Vivian Wheeler” perhaps the best of the three). Meindl cranks the mix even higher with Oliver Koletzki and Kiki's club anthem “Don't Forget To Go Home,” Koletzki's piano-driven “Dieses Lied Glaubt An Sich,” and Jürgen Kirsch's blazing “Paladina” before the mix inches towards its close with the second half's choice cut, Koletzki's epic “Blackout” (Stil vor Talent's first-ever single boasts some of the set's strongest melodies).

December 2008