Sometimes you hear an album and you just know it isn’t going to get the attention it deserves. Perhaps it’s a case of timing, publicity, or trends, but all too often superb LPs fall through the cracks. This bittersweet success story seems the sure fate of From Here To There, a truly remarkable deep house longplayer from Giegling affiliate Ludwig Völker, aka Dwig.
Dwig is an acronym for Die Wiese Im Garten, ‘the meadow in the garden’, an image which aptly evokes both the tranquillity and the dislocated otherworldliness of his music. Across his second LP, Völker proves himself a consummate sculptor of deep house music, drawing in accents of jazz and hip-hop while blending acoustic and synthetic instruments with an elegant and deliberate touch.
The album’s front end is loaded with the kind of warm deep house that has made Giegling and Smallville such success stories, promoting the ideals of subtlety and hypnotism. True Story gives us the first glimpse of how deftly Dwig mixes unexpected sounds into a gorgeous whole. Here there are scuffed kicks and aqueous synths, a slide guitar and clinking glass, fashioned into music which blooms and recedes as gently as the deep breath of sleep. Gentle Memories is one of the album’s most wistful moments, its keening synths and garbled vocals rooting us in a bittersweet nostalgia trip, an easy saxophone sliding into the close. Meanwhile Little Boy turns up the funk, riding out on a mellow key riff, synths served up filtered and chopped, a bassline wandering down in the deeps.
Yet even the best deep house albums can run aground by doing too much of the same. Thankfully Dwig is fully in control of the album’s pacing and variety, and the moments when From Here To There diverges from the deep house template are among its strongest. Opener Spring flirts with hip hop rhythms, tuning up the sounds which will appear across the LP, and the cruelly short Morning Break is the finest Saturday morning jam, with a light shuffle and brass straight out of a black and white movie.
But it’s in the album’s last three tracks that Dwig really steps up a gear, backloading the LP with all of its best tunes. Different Days is a superbly moody hybrid, moving at the pace of hip hop with the mechanics of house. Here tension and release are subtly managed with a blossoming vocal sample, and you can again hear how carefully each element is selected and arranged – the brass, piano and synth flutters each set off a pleasure chain reaction in the music cortex. Lost Telegram is particularly adventurous, ruled by a rapidly filtering synth that hums like a looming UFO, set over a surprising 2step beat pattern that lends an addictive shuffle to the groove. Another joy of the pacing is how Dwig keeps his best traditional deep house tune for the end. The title track is fathoms-deep house par excellence, where melancholic keys are locked against one of Völker’s simplest, most emotive basslines.
From start to finish From Here To There is a deep house masterclass. It’s immediately accessible yet generous to the attentive listener, excelling in the mesmeric capabilities of the genre while pushing a varied, refreshing palette. If there’s any upside to the fact that this graceful album is unlikely to sell out or chart on critics’ lists at the end of the year, it’s that those few listeners who caught it and engaged will forge a more intimate relationship with this music, unhindered by hype or popularity. For theirs is an album of rare substance and beauty, something to treasure for them and them alone.
From Here To There is out now on Dwig, order a vinyl copy from Clone.
A2. True Story
A3. Morning Break
B2. Little Boy
C1. Gentle Memories
C2. Different Days
D1. Lost Telegram
D2. From There To Here
Discover more about Dwig on Inverted Audio.