Well, let's just get it over with: Cavalier's A Million Horses is deep house. The big difference between this and so much of what you'll hear coming from many European producers, however, is buried in the details. Beneath those ever-present strings is where you'll find them: "Marwari (Better Days)"'s slippery hi-hats, "Frederiksborg (What If)"'s billowing dub cloud or "Brumby (Low Pembina)"'s array of modulated voices are just a few of the tricks that Cavalier has up his sleeve.
On the surface, A Million Horses looks a bit like a cookbook that has 19 recipes for cheesecake. What makes this album so strong is that it ends up being all sorts of desserts instead—and, crucially, in varying portions. Rarely do you encounter three lengthy tracks in a row here. Cavalier knows how to get in and get out. He also knows that one good idea doesn't need to last for seven minutes. Just as you're getting sick of "Umadoshi (Break My Heart)," it abruptly cuts off. Right at the moment you realize that the kick is never going to appear on "Franches Montagnes," it's gone.
These are simple tricks—almost unnoticeable to a listener—but they make all the difference in the world. Cavalier, AKA Agnes, runs Sthlmaudio and knows better than most that an album of seven minute deep house tunes rarely makes much sense. (How many classics of that sort can you name?) A Million Horses works more like a hip-hop album, where skits, interludes and tossed-off ideas hold as much purpose—and shine further light on—the obvious anthems. "Uzunyayla (Hallucinatory Narcosis)," "Napoletano" and "Brumby (Low Pembina)" may be show-stoppers, but they wouldn't be without the little things around them.
If it seems like the focus here is too much on the small stuff, that's intended. Agnès is a details man. He programs every single drum hit himself. He once claimed in an interview that he has to "get deep into the things" he's doing, while explaining how he cleaned his turntable to record a podcast. These are the things that separate the serious producers from the frivolous, and it's why—despite the glut of deep house—A Million Horses is worth your time.