Deetron: Music Over Matter
Music Man Records

In contrast to some recordings that are front-loaded with strong material but sags during the home-stretch, Deetron's Music Over Matter features some of its best material during its last quarter—which isn't to suggest that what comes before isn't strong, too, but more to emphasize that the recording is one that's consistently good from start to finish. Surprisingly, the release arrives a full eight years after Twisted (also issued on the Belgian label Music Man Records), the debut Deetron album from Zurich-based DJ/producer Sam Geiser, though he's hardly been MIA; in 2011, for instance, his Balance 020 mix appeared, and a large number of EPs also have materialized since Twisted's release.

There are a couple of reasons why the new collaboration-heavy collection is so thoroughly accessible: the fact that its tunes are so infectiously melodic and hard-grooving, for one, and because many of the songs include vocals by the likes of Seth Troxler, Cooly G, Ripperton, Hercules & Love Affair, Ben Westbeech, Fritz Kalkbrenner, and George Maple. Animated by Geiser's slick drum programming and saturated synth textures, the club-centric and house-flavoured material is largely effervescent in spirit (none more so than “Insatiable” featuring Belgian vocalist Delvis), and some cuts exude an especially appealing deep house vibe. Another plus is that the non-collaborative instrumental cuts offer just as many pleasures as the others. “Sing” and “Count On Me” radiate with joyous, sunkissed splendour, while “Come Away Further” bumps with breezy elan.

Starting things off promisingly, Ripperton & Cooly G warm the bleepy techno jam “Thinking” with their soulful presence, after which Hercules & Love Affair cranks the album up a notch with the even better “Crave”—the first high point on an album loaded with them. An irresistibly funky body-mover, the track struts with single-minded purpose as it powers its way through day-glo synth terrain peppered with chirping vocals and fretless bass accents. “Rhythm” features an ultra-smooth vocal by Westbeech that's matched by the sleek snap of Deetron's house backing, while the exuberant “Strange Things” (featuring Simbad and Justin Chapman) sparkles beatifically.

Such tracks pave the way for the dynamic “Rescue,” which, eleven songs in, takes the album to an even higher plane when Deetron's augments chanteuse Maple's dreamily seductive croon with a sizzling house swing, and the also powerful “Can't Love You More,” which pairs irresistible vocal phrasing with a deliciously pumping pulse. Not everything on Music Over Matter works perfectly—Fritz Kalkbrenner's vocal persona is so distinctive, it turns “Bright City Lights” into more of a Kalkbrenner production than one by Deetron, and the overlong voiceover by Seth Troxler in “Love Song” quickly wears out its welcome, making one long to hear the track sans the voice element. Still, missteps are few and far between and the batting average is high on Geiser's generally superb set.

November 2013