The Timewriter: Tiefenschon
Plastic City

A more-than-solid collection of artful and precision-tooled house music, Tiefenschon (‘beautiful depth') is the sixth full-length by German producer Jean F. Cochois under The Timewriter name. Bringing more than fifteen years of experience to the project, Cochois proves himself more than up to the challenge of rolling out one steamy deep house cut after another on this club-ready set.

“Einatmen” eases the listener in with an ambient-tinged spoken word intro (Cochois himself drawling the words “In the beginning there was nothing but a sweet sound—so tiefenschön”), but it's a mere teaser for the pleasures to come. After beginning passably enough, the album gains strength as it segues into the first of many choice cuts, in this case “Broken Spell,” whose steamy house chug Cochois overlays with Theresa Baltimore's soulful voice (she previously appeared on The Timewriter's “Reachin' Out” and “Lion Steps”). Here and elsewhere, Cochois incorporates vocals in striking manner by having only a minimal number of vocal elements repeat, a treatment that intensifies the material's hypnotic impact. On “Ten Strut,” perhaps the album's peak moment, four lines by singer Ven Lizard repeatedly intone over a synth-kissed deep house pulse that charges for a fabulous seven minutes. An even sparser fragment of a female voice loops relentlessly throughout “High on 24,” and in so doing deepens the track's rolling house thunder, while a female vocal loop forms part of the foundational glue holding together the snap and swing of “Pasodoble.” Soulful vocal effects likewise elevate the strutting charge of “Kesselhaus Days,” while respites from the groove-based intensity arrive in the form of the chilled ambient interlude “Atemzug” and outro “Ausatmen.”

As it turns out, the aforementioned vocal treatments prove so delectable, they make Cochois's own ‘spooky' spoken contribution to “Creatures of the Night” seem silly by comparison, but one misstep leaves but an admittedly small dent in the album's otherwise untarnished surface. At seventy-three minutes, it's a lengthy ride but the generally high quality of the material pretty much compensates for the album's temporal plenitude. Even so, the removal of “Einatmen,” “Atemzug,” “Ausatmen,” and “Creatures of the Night” would transform Tiefenschon into a much tighter fifty-five minute set that includes no filler.

May 2010