Saturday, February 12, 2011
Steffi - Yours & Mine
03. Yours feat. Virginia
05. Manic Moods
08. You Own My Mind feat. Virginia
09. Moving Lips
Given that Steffi has a paltry six tracks to her name since she began producing—or at least releasing, with "24 Hours" on 2009's Panorama Bar 02 her official debut—to hear news of the Panorama Bar resident's album was bewildering. But that's the thing about Steffi that may surprise you. The tracks she has released (particularly the entrancing disco hypnosis of "Reasons" on Underground Quality) have been sterling exemplars of smooth and stylish deep house.
As a DJ, Steffi is known for her often ecstatic sets, and she's also known for occasionally throwing a bit of techno (and everything else) into the mix. You won't find much of that here—for all intents and purposes, Yours and Mine is through-and-through a deep house album, and one that often sounds like her deep house contemporaries. Steffi knows what she does well, and that's the kind of thrill Yours and Mine offers: the restrained, mature appeal of pure refinement. So while it's not about to blow anyone's mind—not anyone who has been paying attention to house music in the past five years or so, anyway—the effect of near-perfect groove after groove has a wonderful cumulative momentum.
"Piem" has lush chords bubbling between the cracks left behind by the uncharacteristically slamming kick drum. "Yours" does "Reasons" one better, electrifying its deadened thud and throwing on a more impassioned vocal from Virginia—classic house sounds as carefully refracted through the lens of the modern deep house revival. Elsewhere Steffi can be too refined: the chunky groove of "Nightspacer" never quite takes flight and the faux-acid lines of "Manic Moods" feel ornamental and even gaudy when neutered so badly. The album's best moments come when she lets her hair down, with the synth histrionics and wrenching bassline of "Mine" ringing out like Silent Shout on opiates.
Yours & Mine winds down with a contemplative blacklight strobe, Virginia providing a sensual and bass-driven sultry vocal on "You Own My Mind" that nicely underlines the album's strengths: subtlety and a solid foundation. Every track is built from a basic, tough-as-nails structure, which is often sparsely decorated with incandescent chords and thinned-out and pale strings. Your experience with Yours and Mine depends on your tolerance of analogue obscurity, of artificial antiquity and feigned weathering. With her debut album, Steffi never breaks any ground—she's about building, not destroying—but there's something so appealing about the simple way she builds her structures that it doesn't matter if they sometimes look a bit too much like the ones over on the other side of the fence...www.residentadvisor.net