- Whether he made off with all the good mugs we may never know, but when Dave Krasemann, AKA Dave DK, shared a Berlin flat with Ulrich Schnauss in the '90s, he certainly took his roommate's taste for epic and cinematic sounds. Widescreen ambience has long permeated Schnauss's work, but it's only recently begun to surface in Krasemann's music. Indeed, his earlier tracks, like 2005's "This Is Not A Problem," seemed much more influenced by his time as a resident at Tresor. His 2007 album, Lights And Colours, was largely focused on clubby deep house. Yet a more ethereal feeling began to creep into more recent 12-inches, like last year's "Woolloomooloo" on Pampa. That same feeling has now expanded to fill every inch of his new album.
Val Maira seems deliberately designed to sound old. Not in the sense of sounding retro—sure, there's something of an early '90s vibe to tracks like "We Mix At Six," but no more so than with, say, Innervisions and their current attempts to do prog house without the pomp. It's more that Krasemann has attempted to carefully recreate the feeling of worn old vinyl in a way that calls to mind pre-distressed jeans. Some moments, such as "Coolette," have what sounds like fuzzy dust already pressed into their grooves. There's a slight quiver in the keys of "Whitehill" that could almost be the needle wobbling on the record. They're small touches, but ones that emphasise the album's elegiac tone. The record overall is more like a faded photograph than the bright oil painting on the cover.
An autumnal atmosphere prevails throughout. Poignant minor chords define "Immer Gut," soft rainfall can be heard on "Naschi" and the rhythm of "Fade In" rustles like falling leaves. At other times—as on "Smukke Lyde"—the music seems to flicker like a mirage. Even when the beats do get a bit heavier, as they do on "Nueva Cancion" and "Kronsee," they seem to be there mostly to add shade and depth to the gossamer melodies. You could get away with spinning some of this during a warm-up set, but Val Maira suggests Krasemann isn't really that concerned about the club these days—rather than bouncing from the speakers, the album billows gently. It can seem to just float by without your full attention, but sit down and try to absorb it and the shapes this music forms are far more substantial than they first appear.
01. Fade In
03. We Mix At Six
04. Smukke Lyde
05. Whitehill (feat. Piper Davis)
06. Immer Gut
08. Nueva Cancion