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Aster / T&J / Kresy / Marc Pinol – Hivern Jacking Tapes Volume One review

Since launching back in 2008, Barcelona’s Hivern Disc has enjoyed a stop-start existence, with releases appearing at less than regular intervals. Yet however sporadic the release schedule may be, it has offered house DJs and open-minded listeners a string of hugely impressive releases. While many of the most notable releases have come from label co-founder and Juno Plus fave John Talabot – see the spiralling, ultra-limited 7” track “Further Strings” and summery Afro-house “Sunshine” 12” – there have been numerous other highlights. With cracking cuts from Talabot cohort Pional and newcomer Kresy dropping in the last six months, Hivern Disc is slowly beginning to get wider recognition.

This latest label missive is another fine example of the label owners’ fine A&R skills. It’s the first of a new series of digital-only releases focusing on analogue-heavy house jams, and features four sparkling tracks from a quartet of little-known producers. The basic gist is this: the Hivern Jacking Tapes will focus purely on Chicago-influenced house music created using analogue equipment, be it vintage synths, drum machines or, as is the case here, both.

Stylistically, much of the music sits somewhere between classic Chicagoan acid, vintage Nu Groove style deep house, early Larry Heard and the retro-futurist new school doodlings of the heavily hyped 100% Silk label. Yet, none of the tracks really sound much like any of these things, inhabiting their own space that takes Hivern’s distant but emotion-rich deep house template in a number of different directions. Aster’s opener, “Oide” is a great case in point. It bubbles with sharp acidic intent, yet its woozy synths, bittersweet melodies, 808 hits and pin-sharp synth strings give it a distinct emotional resonance. It will work wonders on sophisticated and open-minded dancefloors, yet it sounds particularly good over a home stereo, too.

T&J continue the melancholic mood on “Drums & Synths”, a vintage Chi-town jacker that rises and falls with the ebb and flow of alien melodies, heart-aching pads and warm synth bass. It made this writer want to grab hold of strangers and give them a massive hug. We wouldn’t suggest actually doing that, mind – that kind of thing is likely to lead to arrest or a quick spell in intensive care. Kresy’s “En Bypass” is, if anything, even warmer and more appealing. It’s a production that sounds authentically analogue, yet fizzes with contemporary deep house nous. The beats may snap, crackle and pop like the greatest drum machine house cuts of old, but the layered chords and bleep melodies are 2012 through and through.

A fine EP finishes with “Solve Et Coagula”, perhaps the most forthright and stripped-back of all. Produced by Marc Pinol, its builds incessantly thanks to booming analogue bass, clattering 808 swing, Mr Fingers-ish atmospherics and a series of nagging melodic hooks. It’s arguably the most potent of the four tracks. Listen carefully, and you’ll hear the fuzzy hiss of analogue tape. Like the rest of the EP, it’s an unlikely digital delight.

Matt Anniss


1. Aster – Oide
2. T&J – Drum&Synths
3. Kresy – En Bypass
4. Marc Piñol – Solve Et Coagula