- Since the late '90s or so, there's been a vein of music that's often called "house," but only for lack of a better term—it's too dark and strange for that to be totally accurate. A lot of it came out of Germany in the 2000s on labels like Playhouse and Perlon, and colored the sets of that decade's minimal DJs (though it doesn't really fit that term either). More recently, we've gotten it from Workshop, home of warped and subtle club cuts by artists like Kassem Mosse, Madteo and the label's founders, Lowtec and Even Tuell. Lowtec in particular has long been one of the best artists making this kind of music—for proof, check out Mitre Peak, a recently reissued EP from 2000 that drifts through ambient, hip-hop and surreal house (it even has hidden tracks, one of his hallmarks). Lowtec's latest record, the first on a new Swedish label called blundar, shows he's as sharp now as he was then.
Only half of the EP is DJ-friendly, and even then it's not exactly built for the club. The A1 is a muffled groover that's heavy on filters and reverb, with the occasional backwards drum loop and a moment where it kind of malfunctions, haphazardly cutting in and out. The B1 is more out there, with long passages of backwards drums and chords that sound blissfully exhausted. The whole thing seems to move sideways, like a crab scuttling under a reef.
You wonder if Lowtec doesn't enjoy the experimental tracks more. The A2 is a bleak and lovely ambient number that opens with a mournful wail of synth, eventually giving rise to a rattling, drumless rhythm. The B2 has an air of Andy Stott about it, with rumbling chords like distant foghorns and a syncopated 103 BPM groove. Like the excellent sleeve design by mutantexture, all four are both lush and drab—precisely the kind of uneasy contrast that makes Lowtec's music so good.