Decade One (2000-2010)
Melding a range of styles—broken beat, funk, minimal techno, and house—into something he calls ‘Frickelsound,' Berlin-based Niklas Worgt lays down tracks under the Dapayk Solo alias for his own Mo's Ferry Productions imprint. The release of the double-disc retrospective Decade One (2000-2010) obviously affords listeners new to his work a grand opportunity to catch up. The first half mixes new cuts with ‘refreshed' classics, while the second features remixes of Dapayk Solo and Dapayk & Padberg (a collaboration with wife Eva Padberg) material by Dominik Eulberg, Oliver Koletzki, and Florian Meindl, among others.
The release repeatedly highlights the artful and wide-ranging intelligence Worgt brings to the techno and house genres. Never content to simply churn out a generic dance track, he determinedly gives each piece a novel touch or two, often in the form of an ear-catching instrumental sound (the string playing that opens “Serrenge Isma,” for example, or the exotic flavour the bamboo flute adds to vocal grunts and electric piano in “All Eyes On You”). That individualized dimension is evident right away when a piano ostinato courses through the kinetic opening track, “Estral,” alongside orchestral elements (tympani, cellos, and violins). The electrofied groover “All The Same” shows he can produce club bangers with the best of'em when the impulse strikes. Guests Camara and Jon Hester bring a jazzy deep house vibe to “Back To Me,” and Worgt and Hester get down and dirty during the tenor sax-fueled “Kelly.” Vocal cuts also add variety to the solo disc: appearing in both fragmented and full-bodied form, Padberg's delicate voice elevates the house breeze of “Sugar” with sweetness and warmth, and Miriam Liegner's voice floats o'ertop the already radiant “Cheated.” The biggest surprise, though, is the inclusion of the wistful, largely acoustic number “Emergency” by Dapayk & Midnight that's graced by a lovely female vocal.
Split between remixes of Dapayk Solo and Dapayk & Padberg cuts, the second CD is a non-stop grooving affair and therefore the clearer ‘club' side of the set. Though its tracks sometimes stretch out longer than necessary (as good as it is, do we really need nearly twelve minutes of Dominik Eulberg's “Chibi”remix?), the second half turns out to be the more appealing of the two, not only because the grooves are more potent but because they so nicely complement the tracks' vocal and melodic elements. There's no better example than the dreamy “Teapot” which finds Oliver Koletzki stoking a seriously funky house fire under Padberg's vocal, something Exercise One likewise does in “Close Up” by accompanying Padberg's breathy presence with a furiously driving pulse. Caro joins Worgt and Padberg for a thoroughly gyroscopic treatment by remixer Florian Meindl of “Island,” and Pan Pot spotlights the duo's sexier side in the irresistible “Sugar.” Some of the Dapayk Solo tracks that follow threaten to fall into a flavourless minimal rut but even then Worgt generally manages to rescue them from blandness by adding a distinctive element of one kind or another (the splendid, kalimba-coloured Sebastian Russell remix of “Skit” that closes the disc, for example). Even so, when the Dapayk Solo and Dapayk & Padberg pieces are grouped into separate sections, it's all the harder not to hear the duo's material as the more enticing of the two.