Marcel Knopf: Dusty Dance
Mo's Ferry

Doing the promotional rounds for his 2006 mix CD Bits to Phono, Marcel Knopf declaimed to an interviewer, “Minimal is super, but maybe not sexy in the long run!” Certainly Dusty Dance goes a long way to ensuring that no one will mistake it for another anemic exercise in minimal techno when the long-time DJ and electronic producer invests nearly all of the album's house-flavoured cuts with a funky soulfulness that other producers would do well to imitate.

The album arises from slumber with the sweetly melancholy prelude “Intro” before plunging the listener into the fabulously funky bass-and-drums stomp of “That Shit.” All backbeat hi-hats, synth ear candy, and burbling bass swing, “Crazy About” serves up a delicious slice of pure house music, with a soulful vocal from Camara the cherry on top. “Dusty Dance” stokes an earthy, Dionysian fire of wailing saxophones and sirens for seven sweaty minutes, followed by “Skinny Bitches,” a churning blend of techno, house, and acid featuring a voiceover by a party-goer whose words won't win him many fans in the female department (“…but the worst thing is all I can see is a bunch of skinny bitches. Are you kidding me, man? I need to go find myself some meat.”). “Rec-Chord” rolls out a jacking jam punctuated by the titular vocal fragment (edited down from “Put the record on” ), while “Take A No” likewise splatters its thumping tech-house pulse with the title phrase. In the biggest stylistic departure, “Leave It Alone” anchors snatches of Eva Padberg's reading (of Thomas de Quincey's writings) with an ocean-deep slab of Chain Reaction-styled dub-techno.

Exploiting a modest arsenal of elements to their fullest potential, Knopf scatters hammering accents, bubbly synth flourishes, and soulful vocal cut-ups over jacking grooves throughout the hour-long set. There's no grandiose manifesto or pained attempts at profundity on offer, just masterfully-realized club throwdowns that are as steamy as they are tight.

December 2009