- The album format and dance music are often two very uncomfortable bedfellows. You either have music makers uncomfortably straining out to show you everything you always wanted to know about producer X, but were afraid to ask. Or you have them ignoring the fact that they're making an album altogether, and simply cobbling together a few singles. Johannes Heil is most definitely among the latter group. He's been soundtracking dance floors for 15 years under his own name. And, for him, the full-length is all about bringing together the best of his most recent productions.
For proof, look no further than his 2006 full-length, Freaks R Us. Every single song clocked in at almost exactly seven minutes long, each track a single in its own right. His latest, Loving, doesn't follow such a strict template, but it certainly doesn't deviate much either. This is not an album to get lost in, a journey from start to finish. Heil's sights are set directly on making you dance. Pick your favorites. Leave the rest outside of your digital download shopping cart.
Freaks R Us was a product of its time—bleepy electro house was the dominant sound over the course of its ten tracks. Loving, however, showcases a range of sounds within a 4/4 framework. "To the Groove" and "Glockenspiel" roll in the same way so much house from southern Germany has in the past few years. "The Ace," "Freedom of Heart" and "Seeded" are melodic heavy hitters. "Could This Be" and "Loving" even sees Heil bring in the human voice for a rare cameo. Minor experiments can be found in the mild static that comes along with "A Holo Static"'s beat or the opening stomp of "Hallelujah." (The latter is the only track that dips below 120 BPM of the 12 on offer.)
It's interesting to hear Heil stretch out in a limited way. But it also makes Loving sound like the work of nearly 12 different dance floor-orientated producers. It's hard to pinpoint anything that sounds particularly Heil-ian. But while the quality varies from tune to tune on Loving—"Freedom of Heart" doesn't quite hit the highs of "Twentythree," despite the latter being far more restrained—it never dips far below any particular standard that you'd expect from a veteran producer on a label as renowned as Cocoon. Problem is, it doesn't transcend much either. It's hard to hear a track on here that will rise to the level of something from Guy Gerber's Late Bloomers. Minor thrills abound. But on a full-length aimed so squarely at the dance floor, minor thrills make for a minor album.
02. All Is One
03. The Ace
05. To the Groove
06. Big City Nights
08. Freedom of Heart
09. A Holo Static
11. Could This Be