Till Von Sein: Suol Mates

To his credit, Till Von Sein eschews customary mix practice on his latest Suol set (which follows his late-2011 release #LTD): instead of the usual uptempo and high intensity of a conventional club mix, Von Sein fashions something that's far more chilled, the kind of mix more geared for the afterparty lounge listener than the sweaty raver. In a seventy-minute set that supposedly reflects the spirit of his DJ sets, Von Sein isn't averse to letting the BPM dip to an uncommonly low level and isn't afraid either to alter tempos rather than stick to a single BPM from start to finish. In short, anyone hungry for a standard four-to-the-floor treatment should look elsewhere. The listener with an appetite for something more soulful and serenading, on the other hand, would be well advised to check it out.

That Von Sein will go his own way is apparent in his choosing to start the mix with a pastoral, field recordings-based setting by Noyce (“Lucy”), its serene and warm, summery vibe a promising harbinger of what lies ahead. The mix proper then begins with the appearance of Different Marks' “Can't Figure Me Out,” a sultry slice of electro-funk elevated by the deliciously smooth croon of Ben Westbeech. Von Sein isn't afraid to mix things up when the mood strikes, as evidenced by the inclusion of a dubbily atmospheric bit of drum'n'bass (Ayala's “Lull”) in the early going and the raw, sax-goosed jazz-funk of DJ Nature's “Sexual Tension Scene 1” two-thirds of the way through. A Prins Thomas treatment of “Tembezi” by Ackin' adds a smattering of trippy, Latin-jazz swing to the mix, and a chillwave vibe seeps into the mix with the inclusion of Toro y Moi's “Rose Quartz” and Blood Orange's “Champagne Coast” before the synth-flooded splendour of Sebastien Tellier's “Le Long de la rivière tendre” takes the mix out.

Popping up intermittently, vocals (male and female) enrich the mix content with warmth and soul. Highlights include Ripperton's “At Peace,” less arresting for Christina Wheeler's lead vocal (as appealing as it is) than an usual backing rooted in the to-and-fro of bright vocal accents, and El_Txef_A's “Roses,” a seductive exercise in downtempo melancholy that features some of the recording's loveliest singing. Genre-hopping, Von Sein weaves house, drum'n'bass, jazz, funk, chillwave, hip-hop, and, of course, soul into a breezy mix heavy on atmosphere and rich in colour. Above all else, his Suol Mates impresses for offering a refreshing change from the mix norm.

October 2013