- Trendsetters or followers? It’s an argument that has been quietly dogging Tiefschwarz for some time. The duo has evolved over the last ten years, staying ahead of (or keeping up with, depending on your view) the genre du jour while managing to remain as popular as ever. Their early releases were decidedly housey, then a touch progressive, but that was before the duo became fully immersed in, and kings of, the electro house scene in the early 2000’s: their remix of ‘Kinda New’  perhaps being their crowning achievement. More recently 2006’s Fabric compilation saw Ali and Basti Schwarz delve into more minimal areas, their own track ‘Hey,’ under the Ichundu moniker a case in point.
With this in mind, just who are Tiefshwarz’s influences and more importantly, where is their sound heading in 2007? ‘Blackmusik’ answers both these questions with an ingenious and, for the most part, well programmed mix designed to “showcase some of their influences” by digging a little deeper with interesting track selections (such as the piano crooner opener ‘Black Douleur’). It comes as a surprise then, that the music does seems to fall into the melodic minimal house style that is growing in popularity right now (Dial has replaced Int. DJ Gigolo in the Schwarz record bag). Not to say this is a bad thing in the slightest – all of the “influences” tracks here stack up quite nicely and work well with their modern day counterparts – but it does say a lot about Tiefshwarz that even their retrospective view is very much mode du jour.
The inclusion of Marianne Faithfull’s ‘Broken English’ half an hour in, however, does not work, and rudely interrupts what was up until this point a nice little deep minimal/house set. The Faithfull track effectively splits the mix up into two parts: If part one is the future Schwarz sound, then part two can be called the formative years as the brothers lay down the belters that one would expect from one of their classic sets. Numbers such as ‘Bullshit’ and ‘Overthat’ have a party time electro feel to them, but there is also a touch of M_nus banging minimal courtesy of tracks by Donnacha Costello and Brooks.
Keeping with the theme, at a stretch the finale could thus loosely be called the past, courtesy of historically-minded artists such as Recloose (remixed by Carl Craig) and Ron Trent, but it is Francesco Tristano’s amazing reinterpretation of Derrick May’s ‘Strings of Life’ that ties it all together. If you haven’t heard it, it’s a stunning solo piano rendition of one of the great Detroit techno tracks of all time, ironically given a modern twist with a classical feel.
The Schwarz Brothers make it easy to see how new sounds grew out of what came before. Through purposeful placement, they juxtapose many of the choice cuts they have built a career on with their corresponding precedents. Clever stuff.
Unfortunately, the second CD is a bit of a mixed bag, consisting of older Tiefschwarz productions paired with all-new remixes. For the most part the originals sound a bit stale and dated, but some of the modern makeovers breathe new life into them, with Shonky and Samim’s efforts standing out above the bunch. I can’t say the rest are that memorable, but to be fair, sometimes the source material wasn’t much to work with.
It’s hard to believe that Ali and Basti have been around for ten years. While people won’t be talking about their original productions for years to come, they have managed to build quite the legacy as party rocking DJs and shit hot remixers. In the end, ’Blackmusik’ is most impressive because Tiefschwarz aren’t resting on their laurels; instead they’re still searching for fresh innovative music, while at the same time respecting those that came before.
01 Sebastian Tellier - Black Douleur [Record Makers]
02 James Figurine – Apologies (DJ Koze Remix) [Monika Enterprise]
03 Pawel – Ceramics [Dial]
04 Tuff Little Unit - Join Your Future [Warp Records]
05 Osvaldo - Stella Called [Underline]
06 Cortney Tidwell - Stars EP (Ewan Pearson mix) [Ever Records/!K7]
07 Marianne Faithfull - Broken English [Island/Universal]
08 MIA - Tanz Der Molekule (My My original mix) [Rot/Sony BMG]
09 Bullshit remixes (Ziggy Kinder mix) [Frankie Records]
10 Groove Box – Casio’s Theme (MAW Flave mix) - Night Grooves
11 Ralphi Rosario - Una Cosa De Amour [Tempest Records]
12 Broke - Over That [Kompakt]
13 Donnacha Costello - 6.6 [Minimise]
14 Brooks - Tell Somebody About The Beat [Soundslike/Accidental]
15 Recloose - Can I Take It (Carl Craig remix) [Planet E Communications]
16 Ron Trent - Altered States (Light City By Terrace) [High Fashion]
17 Francesco Catalano - String Of Life [Infine]
18 Flash and the Pan - Walking in the Rain [Ensing Records/EMI]
01 Tiefschwarz - Troubled Man
02 Tiefschwarz - Troubled Man (Ruede Hagelstein Remix)
03 Tiefschwarz - Ghostrack
04 Tiefschwarz – Ghostrack (Shonky remix)
05 Tiefschwarz - Original
06 Tiefschwarz – Original (Samim's robidog remix)
07 Tiefschwarz - No More Trouble
08 Tiefschwarz - No More Trouble (Turntablerocker remix)
09 Tiefschwarz - On Up
10 Tiefschwarz - On Up (Kiki & Silversurfer remix)
11 Tiefschwarz - Blow
12 Tiefschwarz – Blow (Radio Slave Remix)