Lee Jones: Watergate 07
Watergate Records

I'm not as familiar with Lee Jones' work as I clearly should be, if the bumping mix he's fashioned for Watergate is representative of his output. An early resident of the Watergate venue, Jones personalizes the label's seventh mix outing by including tracks of his own as well as collaborations (Mymy, Daniel Dreier) and contributions from friends (Matthias Meyer, Ray Okpara, The Cheapers, Acid Pauli). What comes out the other end is an elegant hour of melodic tech-house that's got enough dancefloor mojo to satisfy the most jaded clubber.

The mix begins in low-key manner, with Jones overlaying a minimal pulse with emotive musings by Frazey Ford and a voice sample lifted from a documentary about the infamous Watergate break-in, but the second track, “International” by Buzzin' Fly outfit Flowers & Sea Creatures, elevates the mix mightily when the song merges its uplifting vocal melodies with Jones' swinging remix treatments. Sequencing the album so that the track's transcendent vibe comes early suggests that Jones isn't interested in treating his mix as a single, protracted build.

One of the most appealing things about Jones' set is its occasional melancholic bent, something that's fully exploited during the Cheapers' “Being Eaten” when a simple two-note theme and mournful chords imbue the metronomic groove with an emotional gravitas that calls to mind Peter Kersten's Lawrence style. Other highlights include the sultry serenade “Mymorial,” an apt title for the final track produced by Jones and Nick Höppner under the Mymy name, and “Basic Chord Tool,” a pumping slice of hard-grooving swing that Jones and Matthias Meyer sweeten with deliciously chunky chords. Jones also collaborates with Patrice Bäumel on a head-scratcher called “Voice Scatter,” where treated male and female vocal fragments spring like bouncing balls off of an infectiously funky and clap-happy base. Jones' own “Kreuzberg 61,” a string-kissed homage to his Kreuzberg and Watergate home bases, takes the session out on a suitably atmospheric tip.

Admittedly, there are occasions when the mix feels as if it's spinning its wheels—Andri's overly atmospheric “White Sunday,” for instance—and it could also do with a proper climax, but there are nevertheless enough memorable moments to recommend the release. Also noteworthy is Jones' decision to bring the mix in at an hour rather than push the mix to the eighty-minute max that many others opt for in their own single-disc sets.

December 2010