Thomas Hammann & Gerd Janson: Live at Robert Johnson Vol. 4
Live at Robert Johnson Vol. 4

Having run Robert Johnson's Liquid night in Offenbach for nine years, DJs Thomas Hammann and Gerd Janson clearly know their way around a house groove or two, and are smart enough to know that a mix can be as, if not more, seductive when it works its magic subtly rather than slamming listeners into submission. As a result, theirs isn't a banging mix but one that pulls the listener in gradually (note how smoothly Juicy Fruit's “Liferaft” eases the listener in with six soothing minutes of wah-wah guitars, syncopated house piano chords, and silken house pulsations).

At times, it's minimal in the best sense of the word—hear, for example, how deliciously DJ Du Jour's “A Fish Scene” strips itself down to little more than a crisp Kraftwerk-styled beat pattern, warm bass pulse, claps, and a simple synthesizer melody, or how Fresh Tunes#2's “W.B.W.U.”  likewise reduces itself to deep house swing and elastic bass lines. At other times, the set serves up thick, radiant slabs of cosmic disco and ecstatic house that are delectably funky and soulful (e.g., Lontano's “Lovebass,” Chez Damier's “Take It Away”). Lest a misleading impression be given, the mix does, in fact, slam in a few places too, specifically when Soundstream's “Makin' Love” and DJ Duke's “Can You Feel It” dig into their respective string-draped disco and jazzy house with feverish intensity. A couple of other things warrant mention: it's impossible not to think of “I Feel Love” by Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer when the cycling synth pattern rolls into position during Stephan G & ThePersuader's remix of Dr. Nobody's “The Big Bang Theory”; and the mix ends on a rather surprising note when Superpitcher's mix of DNTEL's “(This Is) The Dream Of Evan And Chan” brings things home with six luscious minutes of pure vocal pop.

February 2010