Image: Daniel Steinberg
Berliner Daniel Steinberg is no stranger to the production world. With two well-received albums under his belt it comes as no surprise that his latest effort on his Arms and Legs imprint, Left Handed, is a strong release.
Spanning over nine tracks, we are whisked away on a rather lovely musical journey which fills the listener with misty-eyed nostalgia whilst still managing to maintain an air of freshness about itself. The album is a very colourful affair and a joy to listen to, and it touches on a number of different styles, from jazz, through house and into some lush electronica. Overall it is a great record to chill to.
The album kicks off with the Latin-licked ‘Corn Dog’. This track harks back to the days when Latin style house was very much de-rigueur with its bouncy, jacking bassline, occasional Rhodes stabs and guitar strums. It’s a very summery track, which is great now that we’re into autumn. Second track ‘Bones’ steps things up a little, giving us a bite of the techier side of house whilst still keeping the latin spirit.
This is indicative of the cohesion with which the album is put together, themes follow on and flow from one track to the next which make it a smooth listen with no track jarring against another.
‘No One Can Change Me’ (above) is a jazzy affair, with a silky soulful vocal hook exclaiming, funnily enough, that “no one can change me”. There’s a gorgeous piano breakdown halfway in and the warm pads that join in lead us nicely back into the main body of the uplifting little number.
‘1981’ reminds us of the kind of broken beat, housey track you’d find on a Bugz in the Attic mix. At least that’s how we start off. From about six minutes in we’re treated to a brilliant rave-out, with a subtle hoover sound and organ loop which then drops us nicely back into the house element again for the wind-down into the next track – ‘Neptune’ – which is an altogether ambient affair.
Continuing the retro-house feel that we’ve had running through the preceding tracks, ‘Crucial’ is a 90s banger if ever there was one. Sample heavy, with a number of interesting sounds throughout, the track segues us really nicely into ‘Punch’, which is a standout track on the album. From the bumpy bassline and the rattling percussion (is that a cowbell – can’t EVER have enough cowbell) this is a great tune and a real party starter and the distortion applied to the bass makes it really grimy in parts.
The track plays out in the style we’re now accustomed to hearing from the previous tracks. 'State of Mind' is filled with warm, luscious pads and is reminiscent of ‘Finally’ era Layo and Bushwacka. The album closes on ‘Peace’, a beautiful house recording which contains some really quite emotive piano hooks which combines perfectly with the soulful vocal lines.
In all we’ve got a cracking album from Daniel Steinberg here. Each song is really well considered and it is wholly apparent that a lot of time has been spent ensuring each and every element within the songs works together perfectly, and that those songs then go on to work perfectly with each other. It would be accurate to say that there is no filler on this long player, which is a rarity these days. Lovely stuff.
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