- For more than five years, Noah Pred's Thoughtless Music has been an overlooked outlet for glossy tech house. His own music has a similar aesthetic: textured and with just the right amount of soul. Third Culture, Pred's third album, is deep house with an arrestingly intimate quality to it. The title refers to his status as an outsider obsessed with dance music growing up in a rural pocket of British Columbia (he's now based in Berlin). This heartfelt resonance makes it more than just an album of well-executed house grooves (though it is that, too).
Third Culture's core sound is laid out well in its opening minutes. After "Unlock," a sensual bedroom jam with Anne Gallien, "No Throws" pairs a percolating bassline with chipmunk vocals. Most of the tracks are made from this same set of base ingredients, sometimes done well ("Questions") sometimes not ("Phantom In A Jar"). And though there are definite dance floor moments, like the electro-informed grind of "Crystallography," Third Culture's up-close-and-personal feel is mirrored by its downcast sound palette, meted out in rainy-day chord progressions. Even "Ends Unmet," one of the album's funkiest moments, buffers its excitable bassline with anxious synths that stir up an ominous tension.
There's an easy stride to Third Culture that makes it feel like more than just a bunch of house 12-inches strung together. Most tracks are, crucially, a few minutes shorter than your average club tune, and ambient interludes like the gorgeous "Ghostbusser" are more than just trifles. The frequent vocals lend it a warm and human glow. The album isn't without its hiccups: vocalist Marc Deon widely misses the mark on "Devil's Quadrant," and a few bland moments suggest it could have been a bit shorter. But Third Culture has enough lovely little touches to make it clear that Pred is someone who understands the art of the full-length.
01. Unlock feat. Anne Gallien
02. No Throws
03. Questions feat. Deepchild
05. Phantom In A Jar
06. Devil's Quadrant feat. Marc Deon
08. Circles & Circles feat. Rosina
09. Third Culture
10. Your Signal feat. Marc Deon
11. Ends Unmet
12. All Alone feat. Rosina
13. Forever Goodbye