- Christopher Rau has a problem common to many prolific artists. His discography is so large that it risks blurring together, the similarities between his hazy deep house productions overshadowing the subtle differences. The debut on Rau's Totally Together label, which gathers a handful of the German's collaborations, shows that there are indeed differences. Oddball and restlessly inventive, the EP pulls in multiple directions at once.
The precise direction of each track seems to be dictated by the collaborator. The A-side features two spots from Chicagoland's Hakim Murphy, who pairs his fiddly, asymmetrical patterning with Rau's cooler moods. In standard Murphy style, each track seems uncertain as to where it's headed. "Floorz Hop" starts as a robust, hard-swung drum track, then settles into some noir-ish looped chords in the second half. The raspy drums and bleak melody of "Again Agin" riff on early Chicago house melancholy at first, but the spongy chords bouncing in take us somewhere quite different.
The B-side is odder still. On the mischievous "Gasoline Or Dettol," from Rau's NC 17 duo with Nathan Jonson, sax samples move manically in pitch over a broken-beat groove. The late pay-off is a think break, mixed so low that you could almost be imagining it. "Carrier," with Mézigue of Parisian label D.KO, is a beguiling swirl of loosely connected sounds: tinkling harp, noodling keys, bursts of what might be film dialogue. A discoid pulse enters and briefly brings everything into line, but it exits just as quickly. Like the rest of the EP, the track suggests tantalising directions for Rau's music, but doesn't follow them too rigorously.
A1 Hakim Murphy & Christopher Rau - Floorz Hop
A2 Hakim Murphy & Christopher Rau - Again Agin
B1 NC 17 - Gasoline Or Dettol
B2 Mézigue & Christopher Rau - Carrier