- There are a couple of things I find confusing about the third release from Berlin-based label The Gym—not least the cover art depicting a bespectacled Nina Kraviz as a muscle-clad gym hunk (so many conflicting emotions...). The imprint helmed by messieurs Brandt Brauer and Frick have made a potent start to their operation through the quirky functionalism of inaugural release Would You/What You Got (Frick/Scott), and the poised candescence of Wallah / Button (the trio in tandem), but unfortunately return here with what is fast becoming a dance music chestnut—covering Nina Simone.
As Jerome Sydenham & Kerri Chandler and Pitto did before them, Daniel Brandt and Pierre Chevallier retread Simone's 1964-released "Sea Lion Woman," and enlist vocalist Standingman to provide the rendition. "SLW" opens fairly competently in the vein of those rolling Remote Area hits, but the mood is quickly sullied by a clunky phase-synched synth, overly woody organ and the staggered musings of Standingman. A sort of freewheeling, jazz-flecked mid-section attempts to instil some distinction into the thing, but only results in further aural discomfort when married with the familiar chorus.
The currently on form Nina Kraviz is also found glancing toward the past on A-side "The Loop" which, true to its name, ceaselessly rubs clipped samples of Grace Jones' "Slave to the Rhythm" up against one another. It's a fairly "wham-bam" type of production with only a nagging woodblock and the gradual fade between the two refrains for progression, but would presumably hit its intended target of bringing dancers closer together. While not her most illuminating composition to date, be safe in the knowledge that at least one Nina comes out of this unscathed.
A Nina Kraviz - The Loop
B Brandt & Chevallier - SLW