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Roman IV – La Paloma review

Way before the world had fallen in love with the decidedly mind-altering riffs and rhythms of “Geht’s Nocht”, Roman Flügel was making a name for himself under the Roman IV pseudonym. It was way back in 1995 that he made his debut with “Altes Testament”, a classic chunk of Detroit-influenced tech-house that was only the second release on Playhouse. A second 12” – featuring the brilliant “Green Tea” – was released, but then little else from Roman IV.

This new four-tracker for Running Back, then, is something of a treat. In many ways, the German label is the perfect home for Flügel’s Roman IV exploits. Famed for releasing long, loopy deep and tech-house epics – think Mark E, Move D and Radio Slave – label boss Gerd Janson will no doubt have been delighted to secure the services of their big-hitting countryman.

“La Paloma” promises much – and on the whole delivers. The title track itself is a hypnotic delight – a ten-minute epic that works all-manner of barely-audible samples (distant bells, jazz samples, crackly pianos) into a weighty, late night tech-house groove. But there’s plenty more to enjoy, too. The decidedly trippy “Lucy” wraps dubbed-out chords around a relentless subterranean bassline, while “Sa Celenta” takes a leaf out of Mark E’s book by focusing the action around a lazy disco loop and bassline. The package is rounded off by digital bonus “123BPM”, an out-there African percussion work-out that will scare more than a few dancefloors this winter. It all adds up to a heady, late night delight that will confound, confuse and thrill in equal measure. Welcome back, Roman.

Matt Anniss