tINI: Tessa

One-time Munich and current Berlin resident Tini Günter recorded the majority of her debut tINI album on the island of Ibiza, and the locale's peaceful ambiance is reflected in the seventy-two-minute disc's laid-back flow. Named after a friend who introduced her to Ibiza's dreamlike world and facilitated Günter's growth as a producer and DJ, Tessa is rather Perlon-like in its spacious, free-flowing style, and one detects something of a Chilean quality, too, in the music's loose vibe. Günter's involvement with music started at the age of seven when she began playing drums, and that initial attraction to rhythm resonates in the album's heavy groove emphasis. Her introduction to music production also began early in the form of sound explorations of her brother's Atari, but it was a later exposure to Moodymann's “Amerika” that pushed her DJ style in a more electronic direction.

tINI's idiosyncratic yet skilful take on minimal house music develops with a natural, organic flow. Throughout the dozen tracks, lithe grooves move in and out of focus in the form of off-kilter beats and subtle percussive touches that accompany wayward mutations of bubbly melodic fragments and speaking voice samples. The album eases into position slowly, becoming more assertive as it progresses; it's only with the third track, “Mine Has A Shower,” that a forceful groove locks itself determinedly into place, and tINI anchors it even more firmly into position by adding claps and a pulsating bass presence. “tINI Meets Jack Medusa” has a similar spring in its step, on account of a rolling bass line and an insistent hi-hat pattern, while the crisp “Canta La Testoasa” adds a dubby dimension to tINI's sound that deepens and warms it, too. Near album's end, the distorted drawl of a warbling voice renders the slinky snap of “Fail Better” more memorable, after which “Someone Loves You” eases the album out contemplatively instead of explosively. The untroubled, good-time vibe of cuts like “Maria, Luise & Bert” and “Monkey's Cave” clearly shows tINI isn't out to end Global Warming or cure cancer but to serve up a pleasurable and consistently grooving set of experimental dance music, and Tessa succeeds in that relatively modest regard. Not every recording need be a game- or world-changer.

December 2011