Review: Away Soundsystem’s ‘Through The Pain’ Ep
Away is a party based on booking DJ’s DJs at leftwing Berlin institution About Blank. Their guests read from Omar S and Move D to Moodymann. Keeping it in the family, recent guests Joe Claussell and Mr Ties offer up contrasting remixes on the second release from the crew’s eponymous vinyl-only label. The variety on offer here, from whacked out vocals to spiritually lifted synths seals the deal on this stand out 12 Inch.
The original track from honchos Away Soundsystem is driving analogue house, with the vocals of Shaune Anthony sitting comfortably above rolling kicks and staccato claps. It’s a heady piece with the vocals layered for texture and atmosphere while the groove is left to power through. In the hands of Mr Ties under his HouseOfTies alias this becomes a sparse churning piece of techno that would sound at home in the witching hours of the Italian’s Homopatik parties, also held at About Blank. The Berlin based Italian adds his own vocals to the mix, with a disorientating yet strangely charming effect, just like being amidst one of his marathon hometown sets.
Ties’ remix ticks the home grown box for a Berlin label and makes for a smart contrast between the remixes on show here. All three tracks offer a different take on moving the floor, from the no-nonsense approach of the original to the obtuseness of the Homopatik resident. It is on the flip that the release really takes off. Think Moodymann’s Liveinla 1998 in terms of a groove led, pulsing and relentlessly building epic.
Joaquin ‘Joe’ Claussell channels the directness of the original without tempering its’ designs on turning up the dancefloor heat. The bass is wound up and left to just roll while Claussell and his considerable team of musicians sprinkle their magic around it, adding and cutting, twisting and tweaking. Remixed at the prolific Sacred Rhythm studios and with credits to Brent Paster on the DX7 and Fran Cathcart’s engineering skills, this is over 10 minutes of seriously accomplished high house music.
Together they’ve come up with a DJ tool of the highest calibre. Keys here, stuttered vocals there, its all brought to bear with a cheeky synth line unleashed after the breakdown. Again the synth is twisted and manipulated without losing sight of its functionality. This track will do some serious damage over the next few months, the musicianship on show here is as formidable as the sharp focus on a powerful groove.
With so much experience in the game and a team of musicians at his disposal one could forgive Claussell for turning in something more outwardly jazzy or afro-centric as he often tends to. Instead he tends towards the minimalist nature of jazz and hypnotic African rhythms to produce a track that will holds its own against the pick of the current US house artists.