Whodat / Viola Klein - Workshop 26

  • Spellbinding house, with a twist.
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  • Whodat and Viola Klein's "Funeral Song" is so simple, sunny and arresting that it might be one of the house tracks of the year. It also helps that it features a small but distinctive twist: every once in a while its tempo changes. The track's warm, four-on-the-floor chug drops into a broken beat that's roughly ten BPM slower. Not a significant switch, you might conclude, but it will be enough to create some fun and awkward dancing this summer. Whodat, AKA the Detroit artist Terri McQueen, and Viola Klein, a German artist who also works as a filmmaker and writer, have collaborated before, including a release on the impressive Belgian label Meakusma. But "Funeral Song" is the most club-focussed track they've made together. "Reprise AoUFC," this record's B-side, is more typical of the terrain they have so far explored together. It's terrain that fans of Terre Thaemlitz and her many projects may identify with. The trio share a fondness for classic deep house tropes, repetition, gently subverted rhythms and social commentary that addresses gender, religion and oppressed peoples. (Klein is the namesake of an Austrian-born 20th century sociologist who advanced the theory that femininity was largely a cultural construct.) "Reprise AoUFC" is powered by the kind of skewed-but-soulful beat that Theo Parrish does so well, and a spoken-word vocal that sounds like a recording of a sermon, something Klein actually did on one of her first records in 2014. "I don't have time to wait till we get to heaven for it to be alright," a woman insists, before making a plea for universal equality: "Everybody has a place in God's kingdom. In this kingdom everybody belongs." The voice of another African-American woman, quoting the Bible—"With loving kindness have I drawn thee"—is looped and layered. The weight of its message may be lost in many clubs, but when absorbed at home, it's this standout record's emotional counterpoint.
  • Tracklist
      A Funeral Song B Reprise AoUFC