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Oliver Schories


[Parquet; 2012]

By ; April 6, 2012 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

“Herzensangelegenheit” in English translates to “matter of the heart” and it’s a fitting starting point for Hamburg-based producer Oliver Schories’ stubbornly emotional and roughly intimate tech house. After feeling around in the realms of UK bass and millennial new rave, the German producer took his influences with him and landed in Hamburg in 2010 and began releasing material under his own name on a number of labels including, most prominently, Ostwind and Parquet. With a handful of 12″s and singles under his belt, Schories has carved himself out a distinct patch of land in minimal techno with a cross pollination of house influences and an undercurrent of emotional sincerity. His debut arrives as a live-set-worthy statement of purpose and a surprisingly immediate and strikingly personal long player.

There’s a bit of maybe-bandstanding near the front of Herzesangelegenheit, or, more likely, a subverting of expectations, opening with some comfortably paced, familiarly Villalobos-esque minimal techno – breathy plunks of percussion and jaggedly-timed chirrups of shined-marble synths. It lingers a little too long, a suppressed sub-bass throb lurking like a slime-covered sea monster beneath an otherwise pristine surface – the only real hint as to what’s to come. Maybe I’m looking too deeply into it, but its striking how familiar and acceptable the ground work Schories lays is in a landscape of post-Alcachofa techno before he annihilates it, blowing the track up into the sphere of steely-organed, ultra-sidechained French house and post-rave following a goofily-placed sample of “My momma always said” and some syncopated drum fills.

But rather than just dumping some hot water onto minimal sensibilities, Schories’ goal seems to be to infuse them with some crowd-pleasing house dynamics and attitudes. Admittedly, on paper, it’s still an awfully broad summation, but Schories brings an eager and playful yet restrained and purposeful energy to all sides of the equation, keeping the album’s heaviness vital and personal rather than instant-gratification or superficial. “Mother” still builds to its teeth-grinding, synths-in-the-red crescendo instead of impatiently grabbing for it every time the kick lands anew and the intricately programmed knuckle-wrap percussion still litters the periphery of the heaving bass synths. Herzensangelegenheit also calms down after “Mother” and starts to massage its melodies toward more introverted territories, finding some footing with Moodymann-esque deep house rhythms, jazz-infected tech, and chain-smoked vocal samples.

Schories is smart in spreading the record’s emotional peaks out at strategical points across its breezy-feeling seventy-eight minutes. After the pieces left by “Mother” have been picked up, it isn’t until “So Much” that we get some impressionable, skull-dinging melody, and by the time the booming piano strikes land after the previous two tracks’ repressed, rotating chunks of catharsis, it feels like a long, beautiful exhalation. “Coffee Break” is another steady drip from the adrenal gland, its squelching, knee-quaking bass synth vibrating beneath a bouncing xylophone sample, some air-sucking percussion flourishes, and a “yay”ing vocal. “Trust Me” goes as far as coating its synth hook in moaning, static-y distortion as a landscape of hand drums and handclaps boxes it in.

But the record’s one-two-three punch of “Joanna”, “Believe”, and “Amsterdam” is where Schories really makes his stand. “Believe” is a leering, robot-chant house anthem and “Amsterdam” is where all of the record’s disparate elements just click into a smoldering mid-energy banger. But “Joanna” with its unraveling tear-streaked middle-section of swirling pianos and tangled, regret-filled vocal samples and the following eruption of the kick’s return makes it one of the most emotionally affecting dance tracks I’ve heard all year. Ultimately, what Schories achieves on Herzensangelegenheit is a staggering breadth of emotion, energy, and tone while maintaining a single vision within the broadly defined realm of tech house and it happens to be a great time to listen to.


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