Michelle Owen: Retake Two

Though only one Michelle Owen track appears in her Retake Two compilation mix (along with two remixes), the warm and breezy spirit of her deep house sound runs throughout the vibrant, ninety-nine-minute set the Sydney-born, Berlin-based DJ-producer has assembled for Berlin DJ Sasse's Moodmusic imprint. Owen's clearly selected artists, among them Joyce Muniz, Urulu, System Of Survival, Dale Howard, and Jonny Cade, whose sound strongly aligns with her own. She also brings a wealth of experience to the project: after her love for house music was sparked by a 1999 New Year's Eve performance by Danny Tenaglia, she established herself in Sydney before relocating to first Ibiza, then London (where, among other things, she worked with Ben Watt at Buzzin' Fly Records), and finally Berlin, where she hosts her own quarterly event at Watergate when not creating well-received tracks like “Strange Days” (Baker Street Recordings, 2010) and “Perchance to Dream” (Moodmusic, 2011).

Polished and euphonious, the music's style is characterized by warm synths, funky bass lines, swinging grooves, and occasional vocal punctuations, and the mix's vibe is upbeat, buoyant, and fleet-footed. While very much rooted in the deep house genre, Retake Two is more exuberant than ecstatic, with Owen generally preferring to keep things at a smooth and controlled pitch (though there does seem to be a gradual build in intensity as it progresses). There are moments, however, when the mix surrenders to the lure of rapturous self-abandon, such as during her own remixes of Rafa Santos' “Breaking You” and Hohle's “Ser Mi Dama.” There's an ample supply of effervescent deep house (Urulu's “It's Over,” Dale Howard's “Go Away”) and cuts both jacking (Acid Andee's “I Wanna Be Like That”) and warm (Adham Zaharan & Hisham Zaharan's “Rose Quartz”).

In her own locomotive “U Never Bring Me Flowers” (not to be confused with the 1978 Neil Diamond-Barbra Streisand hit “You Don't Bring Me Flowers”), Owen alternates between snazzy wooden flute flourishes, clipped voice accents, and neon-lit synth phrases, with the melancholic result a mix standout that makes one hungry for more Owen originals. Other highlights include Kyo & Txef's “As Sweet As Last Night,” whose slinky, synth-warbly swing is as infectiously grooving as anything else in the mix, and Jay West & Manuel Sahagun's “Got Me Insane,” six hypnotic minutes of soulful, vocal-laced funk. It's not a terribly experimental mix nor is it a genre-advancing one, but Retake Two nevertheless offers a generous number of pleasurable moments.

August-September 2013