Motorcitysoul: Technique
Simple Records

Motorcitysoul (Frankfurt deep house duo Matthias Vogt and Christian Rindermann aka C-Rock) may not necessarily sound noticeably similar to Booka Shade but Technique is definitely closer in spirit to the kind of album Booka Shade fans were hoping to hear as the follow-up to Movements instead of The Sun & The Neon Light. In contrast to the rather lugubrious latter, Technique's a beautifully-crafted, hour-long smorgasbord of soulful grooves, funky house cuts, lush melodies, and vocal performances that stands out strongly from the crowd.

The album starts off on an absolutely ravishing note with the one-two punch of “The Start” and “Deliver Me,” with the lush harmonies of the intro segueing into the soulful splendour of “Deliver Me” which kicks into gear with handclaps, a subtly funky house groove, and, best of all, the soulful vocal croon of Swedish vocalist Ernesto. The cut's breezy, uplifting vibe shows Motorcitysoul's lithe sound in the best possible light and sets the bar extremely high for the album's subsequent tracks to measure up to. Finishing “Deliver Me” by re-introducing the high sweet harmonies and then ending the track with vocals alone is a masterful move. Another peak arrives five tracks in when American singer Ovasoul 7 drapes his silken voice over the ten-minute soul-house thrust of “Change You” and the later, slightly downtempo funk-house cut “Movement & Motion” gives Marlene Johnson a chance to parade her vocal gifts too.

Vogt and Rindermann are experts at building intensity in their tracks: “Space Katzle” (“Space Cats”), for example, smoothly builds layers of radiant arpeggios into a clubby, peak-time raver before decompressing, and “The City” scales a similar house peak before pulling back. Technique also includes some hefty rhythm-based workouts, such as the 707 drum machine-driven “Kazan,” distinguished by a pounding jack and Kraftwerk-styled theme, and “Hatohay,” where the bubbly house attack is fleshed out by the percussive enhancements of Heiko Himmighoffen. Offsetting such intensity is “Hermelin,” a spacey beatless track dominated by cross-patterns of synth sweeps and analogue patterns. What stands out above all else is Technique's polish and, while the eleven pieces show Vogt and Rindermann to be masters at their craft, the high level of technical execution doesn't translate into an exclusion of humanity and soul. A better album title couldn't have been chosen, given the level of refinement the music exudes from start to finish.

December 2008