Daniel Steinberg: Shut Up
Front Room Recordings

Though Shut Up is Daniel Steinberg's debut album, he's been a well-known presence in Berlin's club scene for years, having spent more than fifteen years refining his craft and issuing nearly twenty singles and EPs to date. But, thankfully, the occasion of his first long-player hasn't brought forth any po-faced tendencies in Steinberg; instead, the forty-seven-minute set reveals that he's remained true to the lighthearted club music style he's become known for. The material's cheeky bent and offbeat sense of humor is established from the get-go when the title cut's rolling Perlon-esque groove is joined by a female singer's wacky monologue about chicks and other sundry matters (“Chicks go out for coffee, cigarettes and gum / Chicks bring back the Burger King, yum, yum, yum… I don't wanna marry, I don't wanna trick / Shut up, shut up, shut up”). “On the Train” barrels forth with a jacking locomotion peppered with choo-choo noises and a sing-song rap by the train itself (“I'll take you where you're going and I'll take you home again / You ride me in the sunshine and you ride me in the rain / I'm a train”). Though “Patchways” almost collapses under the silliness of its country vocal samples, “Chintonic” works a thumping groove, timbales, and cartoonish yet insidious vocal hooks into a woozy roller-coaster of a track, and a merging of Latin-American and house musics transpires during “Atencion” when jazzy piano playing and house rhythms fuse alongside a buoyant vocal turn by one Idvet. A jazz feel also elevates the house swing of “Save My Darling,” a vibe bolstered by soulful female vocalizing (“Say that I'm the one you love”), while “Gimme” opts for a straight-up take on jacking and funky house (though even here the inclusion of a toy piano gives the tune some added character). Steinberg proves to be as much crate-digger as beat scientist, with most tracks coupling exotic samples, vocals mostly, with crisp beats. It's a style that works in his favour, as it gives his music a soul and personality that is less pronounced in the stripped-down tracks of his club music brethren.

February 2011