Session Victim: The Haunted House of House
Delusions of Grandeur

Hauke Freer and Matthias Reiling bring the noise to their ultra-fine Session Victim debut album The Haunted House of House. Talk about fully formed: the hour-long disc's eleven cuts hit one sweet spot after another, whether it be the low-slung, slap bass-driven slink of “Alpine Glow” or the silken house charge of “Cow Palace.” The two aren't new to the game: they run the vinyl-only Retreat label (with the help of fellow Berliner Quarion) and garnered attention with the 2011 underground hit “Good Intentions,” featured on the collection in a new album version. Though eight of the release's tracks will be familiar to those who've heard the two The Haunted House of House EPs previously issued, the new release conveniently packages them into a single longplayer.

“Dark Sienna” rolls out a locomotive disco-funk pulse to get things moving, the track conjuring a deep, Balearic vibe as it cruises smoothly down an open highway of lush strings and dubbed-out vocal interjections. Luscious body-movers such as “Zoinks” and “Push Comes To Shove” suggest that Session Victim's music might be described as club-friendly mood music but, if so, what sublime mood music it is. Perfectly calibrated, the duo's material strikes a deft balance between infectious dance rhythms and atmospheric colour, its crisp funk and house rhythms unspooling amidst a plethora of dubby keyboards, bass pulses, samples, and vocal effects.

The title track nicely captures Session Victim's command of mood and atmosphere in its supple melding of arpeggiating acid lines, luscious pads, and a steamy groove so driving it's motorik. A few downtempo tracks enable the listener to catch his/her breath, too (e.g., “Bison”), and “Light Scent of Decay,” a robust, ten-minute live jam of deep house bent, oozes a trippy character that makes good on the title's acronym. In a stylistic change-up, “F.I.N.E.” adds Grand Agent's relaxed flow to its hip-hop headnod before “Flying Visit” takes us out on a wave of Balearic uplift. There's no deeper meaning to be drawn from the music, which is not to suggest that it needs it. Session Victim's is pure body music, and it goes without saying that the tracks should be played loud in order to feel the full effect of their sinuous, tight grooves.

May 2012