Oliver Hacke: Dues and Needs
Trapez Ltd.

On the Dues and Needs EP, Düsseldorf resident Oliver Hacke airlifts the listener from the frenzy of the urban metropolis to the center of an equally active tropical jungle. The charging bass-and-drum rhythm in the lead cut “Mangroves to the Lagoons” is certainly clubby in spirit but the omnipresent flow of exotic bird calls and eerie jungle noises lends the track an idiosyncratic character to say the least. Charging too if slightly less frenetically, the B-side's equally-exotic “Bisou” first establishes a solid foundation with a gyroscopic bass line and swinging house skip and then punctuates it with all manner of natural-sounding percussive accents and the melodic pluck of a kalimba.

Two digital bonus tracks are available too, with Hacke stretching out on the eleven-minute “Flying Shark” and Jurek Przezdziecki contributing a “Deep Nostalgia” remix of “Mangroves to the Lagoons.” “Flying Shark” riffs on the basic feel of “Bisou” but expands elastically into multiple directions with buzzing flares, flanges, and percussive accents that grow ever more emphatic as the track progresses. Truth be told, Przezdziecki's aggressive makeover has the most drive of the four tracks. Without sacrificing the original's tropical character, the Polish producer gives the kick drum additional oomph and intensifies the hi-hat patterns, resulting in a remix of considerable power and heft.

As one might expect from someone as skilled as Hacke, the material's sound design is rich and captivating; if there's a downside, it's that there's little by way of narrative arc. Peaks and valleys are largely absent, with Hacke more focused on stoking an even-keeled vibe from start to finish which consequently renders the material rather less dynamic than it might be.

January 2009