Compared to the voluminous rate at which some labels proffer forth their wares (not least in the age of digital-only singles and the like), in five years Dekmantel haven’t over-done it by any stretch of the imagination. Before this celebratory series commenced with the first instalment from Juju & Jordash and Morphosis, just eight releases had borne the Amsterdam-based label’s particular brand of woozy, organic house music.
The age old adage of ‘less is more’ rings true though, as each 12” carries with it a unique school of thought where the roots of soul and funk that informed the birth of disco rein supreme. In that sense the label shares some parallels with their close neighbours Rush Hour, yet where Rush Hour have spread themselves wide and carry a more polished sheen, Dekmantel tracks tend to be a touch more scuffed and raw.
Having said that, Awanto3’s twelve-minute dreamathon “Pregnant” (a title borne from that wry tendency to loop a vocal sample until it sounds like they are saying something else) is a damn smooth affair. Much like on his Alfabet tracks with Tom Trago, sumptuous keys of a moody blue nature provide the main refrain while the beat thumps away on a disco tip. It’s a simple track and it probably doesn’t need to be as long as it is, but that doesn’t make it any less blissful to get drawn into.
Makam’s offering is somewhat more contentious from the moment the intro kicks in on an abstract melee of loopy clips in that style that made The Mole notorious some years back. Shortly after that the real track reveals itself in a straight-up lift from an as yet unplaced disco-funk track. It’s pure upbeat tones all round, not least in the soaring Philly strings and jolly flute decoration.
That leaves it to Lone to round off proceedings with his dreamy cut. The disco influence is still in full effect where often the Nottingham-based producer belies his love of UK rave culture, but the thrill is in the way he brings his knack for warbling and colourful synth lines into a steady 4/4 groove. While this part of the compilation series may not be wholly representative of the typically renegade Dekmantel sound, all three tracks stand strong in their own right and provide much funky fodder for those wishing to add a little strongly-rooted soul to their collection.
A1. Awanto3 – Pregnant
B1. Makam – Good To You
B2. Lone – Risttowe