- It's safe to say that Max Graef has a fairly impeccable collection of funk, jazz and soul. This we know not just from the young Berliner's DJ sets, but from the chunks of it he sampled for early singles on his label, Box Aus Holz, as well as 2014's Rivers Of The Red Planet album on Tartelet. But for his first album on Money $ex, a label he runs with fellow crate-digging obsessives Glenn Astro and Delfonic, Graef wrote a record not just based on the sounds of old records, but also made in the same way. Dog finds the house producer putting away computers, picking up his bass guitar and gathering friends to jam out some live jazz-funk.
The thought of "jazz-funk" and "jamming" may have some scurrying away faster than a thumb can thwack out a slap-bass solo, but this album swings, with every track squeezed into a few minutes and performed by a stellar band. There's a real intuition between the players, as heard on the title track, when they settle into a strutting groove following Graef's cocksure bass. Kickflip Mike's drumming is pretty unfussy for music of this ilk, and his solid 4/4 kicks could slot "CBOLX" and "Die Elektrische" into Graef's adventurous house sets. Moments like "CGI"—with its head-nodding keys, nimble bass and slippery guitar solo, provided by Graef's jazz musician father, Gerry Franke—have the spirit of '80s acid-jazz hanging over them.
But something else is hanging over Dog. Good as the album is, it doesn't add anything fresh to the '70s and '80s music that Graef and his band so slavishly imitate. And jazz-funk/rare groove enthusiasts already have a practically bottomless pile of original material from those eras to get through. It's also unlikely to convert anyone not already tuned into this sound. As you hear them "whoop!" and "hey!" in the studio on "Tangerine," it becomes clear that Dog is mostly just fun for Max and his mates.
A4 Der Weisse Vogel I
B1 Mathilda Lilith Emilia
B2 Die Elektrische
B3 Der Weisse Vogel II
B5 Der Weisse Vogel III