Repeat Orchestra: A Deeper Ground
A Touch Of Class

Though A Deeper Ground originally appeared in 2000, it sounds no less fresh ten years later. The four-track EP is the work of Stefan Schwander under the Repeat Orchestra name, but one could argue the better alias to issue it under would have been Schwander's other alias Rhythm Maker, given how lithe and supple the tracks' grooves are (for the record, he also records under the A Rocket In Dub and Antonelli Electr. names). In his Repeat Orchestra work, Schwander distills the finest elements of Detroit techno and Chicago house into a sleek hybrid that honours its roots while casting its gaze upon the future. The opening title cut rolls out half-a-minute of hyperactive percussive clatter and insistent bass pulsations before the groove proper swings into view, and what a luscious house groove it is. Here and in the other tracks, syncopated chords and string motifs pepper crisp soulful house grooves. Not a sound is out of place and there's not a moment of excess in Schwander's stripped-down constructions. “Virus” digs into its snappy house strut before a looped piano element enters the fray and the thumping groove broadens out, plunging deeper and getting funkier in the process as chords ricochet across the piano motif. In “Busy Signal,” a slinky hi-hat pattern and claps lay the foundation for a polyphonic criss-cross of piano and synth patterns that in under four minutes deftly synthesizes Detroit-styled futurism and classicism. Let's hope the EP's re-issue leads to the release of new Repeat Orchestra material. A deeper ground indeed.

June 2010