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Lagenberg – Past Present EP review

When it comes to working with a fusion of deep house and dub influences, no one holds more relevance than Germany’s Max Hessen, AKA Lagenberg. The Essen native, who has been producing since 2007, is already well known following an impressive string of releases for the likes of Resopal Red, Sthlmaudio, Drumpoet Community, Liebe*Detail, his own Mild Pitch (which he runs with Manuel Tur and Dplay)and of course, Dessous. Now returning to Steve Bug’s Dessous once more, Lagenberg dives further into his exploration of deep house music tinged with dub atmospheres on the excellent “Past Present” EP.

All three tracks on the release are concocted with some very basic ingredients. They all revolve around slow but thumping beat patterns, deep, dubbed out and unrestrained subs and some sparse chords. Opening the EP, “Past Present” is an ultra deep and moody, modern sounding amalgamation of dub and classic Chicago influences. It bristles along with a tough analog energy as the crisp drum patterns open up into the surging bass that drives the track. The haunting female vocal adds to the moodiness whilst ensuring it never spills over into sheer dread or menace. “Backyard” has a slower groove giving it any easier feel than its predecessor.  Complex dub arrangements huff amid yet another heavy and warm sound aesthetic. This full bodied, hazy, heady sound runs away with the track as echoed vocal snippets chase along, giving the whole tune a spaced out but flowing feel. Now in more of a fidgety mode, the EP moves into a housier tone on “Monday 16th.” Steadily evolving string arrangements and classic deep house chords trickle over some funky and exotic percussion as the track rolls on through the dubby jungle floor of Langenberg’s soundscape.

Review by Tom Jones