The Berlin-based Relative label, run by brothers John Swing and EMG, is known by few but revered by those who do. Churning out DJ cuts steadily since 2010, it's become one of underground house music's quintessential cult labels—their records are the dust-speckled glue holding together all sorts of DJ sets.
I wouldn't pour myself a glass of wine and luxuriate on my sofa to either side of Relative 013, necessarily—its sandpapery production and loopy approach to composition take it pretty far outside the home-listening realm—but they should have a unique and pleasurable effect in the club. "Keep It Up," the John Swing track, lumbers along at first, tripping over its own chunky beat. Chipper hi-hats and a wildly upbeat disco vamp come in later and instantly transform it into an anthem. That vamp builds things up again and again—maybe more times than is necessary, strictly speaking, but its extended runtime and rollercoaster form should give DJs plenty of flexibility. On the flip, EMG's breakdowns are even bigger and stranger. "Good Inside" varies the 909 onslaught with whirling melodic sections and ecstatic female vocals. "Oh honey, you're making me feel good inside," she says, and as the oversized cymbals abruptly slap back in, any dance floor worth its salt will feel the same.
TracklistA1John Swing - Keep It Up
B1 EMG - Good Inside