- Desolat might have begun by ruling the charts with the barren, polarising ping-ponging of Dubfire’s ‘Ribcage’, but already by its third release the label’s landscape has become far more lush and verdant. A cynic might put it down to the effects of a stylistic ‘climate change’ within the minimal community and the attendant tide of samples migrating toward the anthropological (bongo bongo), but probably this release was slated long before either the weather started to change or minimal DJs started ‘discovering’ Africa.
I’m not sure I’d buy the EP for the original track. It’s a serviceable addition to the current crop of Africanised ‘deep house for the minimal kids’, and a worthy addition to the bag of any DJ exploring this style: it’s got chanting, it’s got a prominent, housey bassline, it’s got frantic bongos sprayed all over it (to really mark the territory). Decent and workmanlike, it’s got everything it should have and does everything it must do, but nothing more. My advice? Go back to ‘Africa’ (Osborne’s, that is) if you want something along these lines with real distinction.
But then there’s Moritz von Oswald’s mix. Like his fantastic reworks of Tony Allen’s ‘Moyege’, what really sparkles out of the speakers is its sound—it’s sunlit and just right for swimming in all day. In fact, I hate to say it, but it’s embarrassing how much better the Moritz remix is compared to the original. The difference all comes down to presence, spaciousness and eternality: where the original sounds like a hurried attempt at a current trend, Oswald’s has all the time in the world. Like an exercise in deep, meditative breathing, it unfolds into as much space as it needs, holds it for as long as it wants, then lets it go in a wonderful ambient fade-out. So be careful, kids—this is also a soundpool you might drown in (and enjoy doing so). I’m not convinced about Desolat (or Sebbo for that matter), but Oswald manages to hold up his end and then some. No mean feat—especially given that he makes it all sound so effortless.
A Watamu Beach
B Watamu Beach (Moritz von Oswald Rework)