Back in 1999, as our good old human civilization was about to enter a new millennium, a young label was given birth in Hamburg and blessed with the soon-to-be reputed name of Dial. At the time David Lieske and Peter Kersten most certainly didn’t imagine their project would turn into the praised deep house and electronic music institution it is now. And after over a decade of frantic explorations, tirelessly shedding barks and shaping new sound perspectives via pared down canons, Dial is now up to celebrate its 15th birthday with a high-flying anniversary compilation soberly titled All.
The timing was perfect to gather the finest of the label’s well-known figures together with newly added talents and collaborators, the more notable being White Material’s DJ Richard who’s got an eagerly-awaited debut album coming out on Dial at the end of the year. Still, it’s a longtime affiliate who fires first: classical pianist by trade, Christian Naujoks delivers a fragile incipit where a subdued light softly rises upon a twine of key-budging melancholia, synth notes delicately flurrying like crystal flakes from a cloud studded sky. The mood of the assortment is all about versatility and that second track from the artist Stefan Tcherepnin acts like a distractive interlude, displaying a bizarre and deliberately out-of-context ballad as taken from an hallucinogenic episode of Adventure Time with a wobbly Finn-like voice chanting its desperate will to be Art.
Be it Roman Flügel and his smooth and jazzy cut tinted with finely-curved piano parabolas or Efdemin and his subaquatic bass spattering ambrosial pads that loom straight from beyond the cliffs, the label dons do the job efficiently. On his side, Carsten Jost makes another perfect use of piano flats to set up a never-ending loop that keeps contracting and retracting like a blooming flower on repeat over a ride of straightforward, shuffling hats to keep things tidy. Definitely one of the beautiful surprises of the compilation. Melodically-wise, RNDM, Lawrence and Pantha Du Prince are far from being outdone obviously and their tracks will definitely strike a chord for anyone willing to get some deep, organic sensations. Subtle chiming bells meet rolling bass curls in a consistently-arranged 4 / 4 groove that certifies the tracks’ potential strike force on dancefloor duty as well as a truly enjoyable home-listening.
John Roberts‘ Paloma is one of the most interesting tunes of the collection, a track that confirms the American producer’s recent return to an even lusher battery of sounds, drifting more freely towards John Cage’ian shores and melting elements as diverse as nervous guitar vibratos and strings getting distorted in a background orgy of swashing percussions. Pawel’s All Nearness Pauses is another nice example of the large scope being presented in the compilation with its Cure-esque atmospheres, unfolding both vocals and guitar riffs clearly reminiscent of Robert Smith’s outfit golden era. But it’s DJ Richard’s Zero who survives our highest expectations and truly feels like one of the real highlights here, not just because it’s his first actual track out of the White Material bosom – he actually released a tape of ambient soundscapes on Kashual – but because his shuffling hats and hard-beating kicks get the adrenaline going for good under the cosmic auspices of his spaced-out ellipses. The kind of appetizer that makes us even hungrier for his debut to drop.
Last but not least on the list of goodness displayed by the selection: the apparition of Physical Therapy for some solid post-jungle’y action, where the producer astutely juggles with old-school patterns and obsessive synth gyrations, decidedly another personal favorite. The release doesn’t stop there though and keeps leaping from a genre to the other even deeper with various success: from the droning swirl of Queens to the vocoded canon and trap-like rhythms of Dawn Mok in the home stretch, Dial proves to be curious of everything and plainly assumes that the sublime often verges on the ridiculous and vice versa. The edifice built by the Hamburg label may be one of the strongest out there, the apparently everlasting freshness and self-derision of the early days probably grant them another 15 years of success and more.
All is out now on Dial, order the CD from Kompakt.fm.
1. Christian Naujoks – For A While
2. Stefan Tcherepnin – I Want To Be Art
3. Roman Flügel – In Your Wardrobe
4. RNDM – Summer Smile
5. Carsten Jost – My Confession
6. Lawrence – Chez Dupont
7. John Roberts – Paloma
8. Pawel – All Nearness Pauses
9. Efdemin – No Exit
10. DJ Richard – Zero
11. Physical Therapy – Market Crash
12. Pantha Du Prince – Timeout On The Rocks
13. Queens – Earth Angel
14. James K – S Lush
15. Dawn Mok – Like Thoughts Or Moments We’ll Fall
Discover more about Dial on Inverted Audio.