House Music Reviews

Solee – Caillou/Jonalu (Parquet)

 

Solee’s Parquet’s fourth release of 2013 follows fantastic EPs from newcomers to the label Willy Realy & David Prap, Joachim Pastor, and Oliver Lieb.  This latest release turns things back over to label regular and head-honcho Solee for a double A-side. Solee offers up two new tracks (‘Caillou’/’Jonalu’) plus alternative versions of each, while Marc Poppcke and Oliver Lieb provide remixes of ‘Jonalu’.

‘Caillou’ is pure party material. Its lead melody isn’t the strongest Solee has ever come up with, but he’s such a master at building a groove that it doesn’t really matter. Cool guitar licks, sprinkles of piano, and massive, omnipresent bass tones ensure that this’ll work anywhere that welcomes chunky house music that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Solee’s own Spacephunk version is similar to the original, but swaps in a nastier, funkier bass and sweeping synths, creating something of a retro eighties feel. Just as you’d expect the track to start winding down, it peaks with some beautifully jagged acid lines. Overall, it struck me as the stronger of the two versions of ‘Caillou’. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but like the original it’ll work a treat in the right context.

Continuing the retro theme, ‘Jonalu’ has a classic house sound; skipping hi-hats and snare-rolls, a fantastic analogue bassline, and a distinctive female vocal sample are the order of the day. In tone, though, it’s much moodier and more atmospheric than ‘Caillou’. It’s much the better for it in my view – this is just great work from Solee. As a bonus, the package includes a nice down-tempo version of the track.

Marc Poppcke’s remix of ‘Jonalu’ follows his recent EP for Sasha’s Last Night on Earth label earlier this year. Poppcke offers a laid-back, proggy version of the track, with a gorgeous string breakdown of the sort we’ve come to expect from him. But while there’s plenty of melody and the remix builds nicely enough, it just never really catches alight.

No such criticism could be leveled against Oliver Lieb’s remix, which picks up where his superb recent ‘Rack to the Boots’ EP for the label left off. Things start out in a fairly minimalistic vein, with little more than heavy percussion and drifting pads filling the first few minutes of the track. But it soon becomes clear that Lieb has bigger plans, and a great use of the vocal sample from Solee’s original, a sparse but effective bassline, and shimmering, intertwining melody lines make for a really stunning remix. This sounds like Oliver Lieb and like nobody else, despite not quite sounding like anything he’s done before – that he’s been pulling off this trick consistently for 20 years now only makes it all the more astonishing.

Parquet were easily one of the best labels of last year, and this EP continues their strong showing in 2013. Oliver Lieb’s remix of ‘Jonalu’ is the clear winner for me personally, though the six tracks included in the package cover a lot of musical ground, and so DJs and listeners of quite different persuasions are likely to find something for them here.

7.5/10

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