Tensnake: In the House
Defected Records

In The House, the first commercially released mix album from Tensnake (real name Marco Niemerski), straddles populist, retro, nü-disco, and experimental worlds. Niemerski's attracted a fair share of attention with his “Coma Cat” single and it's included naturally, but the mix is hardly dominated by Tensnake tracks. One would hardly call the mix underground, yet it nevertheless includes tracks by highly respected figures like Michael Mayer, Prins Thomas, Jamie Jones, and DJ Sprinkles (Terre Thaemlitz). Regardless, it's an oft-slamming two-disc set that boasts no small number of highlights.

The first disc initially focuses on retro funk and soul jams, many of them vocal-based (Carol Williams' “Can't Get Away (From Your Love)” a prime example) before moving into cosmic disco. Funky and sexy, Mugwump's “Boutade” provides an extroverted entry-way to a mix that's hardly shy, and the music's smooth vibe carries on into Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White's remix of Zev's testifying “Don't Break It.” Still on the retro tip, Tensnake's “Need Your Lovin” is so unashamedly ‘80s-styled in its use of electronic drums and squiggly synth accents, it verges on cheesy. Thankfully, the mix leapfrogs a few decades ahead for the subsequent tracks, making In The House feel a whole lot fresher. Prins Thomas leads the charge with a sparkling treatment of Al Usher's “Lullaby For Robert,” after which Tuff City Kids serves up an overhaul of Boom Clap Bachelors' deliciously rapturous “L-O-V-E” that recommends the album purchase all by its lonesome. Kaine's piano-driven anthem “Love Saves The Day,” featuring a vocal by Kathy Diamond that's deliriously desperate, segues into an inspired pairing of Michael Mayer's hypnotic “Amanda” (from Kompakt's Total 2) and a Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas remix of The Chemical Brothers' “Swoon,” a barn-burner whose irresistible vocal melody (“Just remember to fall in love…”) takes the first disc out on the right note.

Disc two situates itself solidly within the contemporary era by opening with an equally inspired mash-up of Mount Kimbie's “Carbonated” and an acapalla rendering of Osunlade's “My Reflection” featuring Divine Essence. Stoking a synthetic storm, A Still Going remix of Coyote's “Moving” digs deep in its silken coupling of deep house languor and creamy, bass-thumping groove; Jamies Jones treats Tom Demac's “Crewcuts & Curls” to a “Watercooler” remix that's both funky and hard-grooving, as is Heaven and Earth's “Prescription Every Night.” “Coma Cat” brightens the mix the moment it appears with an irrepressible spirit and bubbly melody line that won't be denied; it's easy to visualize the rapturous response the retro house tune must engender whenever Niemerski unleashes it in his set. Following that, Motor City Drum Ensemble contributes a bass-powered rendering of DJ Sprinkles' “Grand Central Part 1” before the jubilant retro soul of Phase II's “Reachin (Original Brotherhood Mix)” takes the mix out in the same kind of euphoric spirit with which it took flight.

December 2010