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Review on Smallpeople - Afterglow

Released on Smallville

Smallpeople aka Julius Steinhoff and Dionne (heads of Hamburgs Smallville imperium (which is basically the label and the record store) and longtime Golden Pudel Club residents) have a new album out and quite unsurprisingly it’s House, House, House Music par excellence. On Afterglow, their second album following the 2012 Salty Days, Smallpeople once more give an excellent example of how to produce music that is not intended to be something new or extreme or groundbreaking, it is much more about diving deep into the traditions of dance and club music and coming up with something that’s so heartfelt, intelligent and, to sum it up, modern underground, you wish more records would be like that. (Actually there are more records like that, no problem, cause Smallville released a whole bunch of them over the last years, all tight and inspired.)

Afterglow starts just like that: Magic Interference is deep House, based on a cool bassline and a slick groove plus some airy chords and all that on repeat, unspectacular in a way but masterly focused and vibrant. Hearts At Whole and All States Of Dawn then keep the overall level high but are a little less relaxed, a little more pushing, energetic tracks with a gentle nod towards Detroit spheres. From here on the album keeps growing, culminating in the adventurous Benevolent Receiver that brings together acid bubbles, the first five seconds of West End Girls and magnificently shifting beats resulting in something really special. And though the sounds are crystal clear and transparent the whole thing’s swinging and rolling all the way. At times there’s a little oddness, a little teasing (such as the hilarious Ritmo De La Noche piano on Sonic Winds) but Dionne and Julius for sure keep it warm and positive, no gloom, no doom, no concrete walls on Afterglow.

In the end it’s another great record on Smallville, a more than welcome expression of confident enthusiasm for House as a sound, a lifestyle and a movement. That’s what we need at the moment.
Written by João Geck
08.04.2019 - 20:27 – by Hendrik Warnke / hendrik@wordandsound.net

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