Coming on strong with his first release for Sound of Berlin – as you would expect from the resident DJ of the hippest club north of the Spree (sorry, Berghain) – Peter Schumann’s ‘Deeper Conversations EP’ hits the sweet spot between the groove-of-all-grooves of the late 1980s Chicago, and the rugged, techy variety of the mid-1990s London. The deal here is very much: out with the new, in with the old.
Getting straight down to business, ‘House Magic’ does exactly what it says on the tin. Lulling you into eight minutes of pure bliss with its gently glowing pads, stonking Moog-bassline, and silky organ hooks in minor 7th, it’s a solemn hat tip to none other than Mr. Fingers and his legendary 1986 cut ‘Can You Feel It?’ You want any closer to Chicago, you’ll be looking at a minimum $300 one way.
Unless, of course, your mate happens to have a sideline as a flight-attendant (what are the odds) “We have a little connection to Gramaphone in Chicago,” Schumann says. “And with my friend, with whom I run the label, he’s a flight attendant and so he brought our records to Gramaphone, 20 records, and said ‘here you can have it for your mail order for your store.’”
Schumann’s connection with house goes way back to his Frankfurt days. When he started DJing in 1995, he was one of the regulars at a club run by Ata Macias called Robert Johnson. “I was there every weekend. And that’s where I saw Mr. Fingers playing,” he recalls, eyes sparkling. “For me, it was a big education.”
By contrast, ‘Dapé’ featuring David Dorad marks a distinct change of gear as we kick off bottom heavy with chunky kicks and thick sub bass, London style, and then gather momentum before slowly morphing into a sleek, OB-6 led minimal dancefloor slammer speckled with vocal samples and ultra-smooth crossfades.Apart from breathing new life into tech house, ‘Dapé’ also captures the vibe at Holzmarkt, an impressive hub of non-stop creative activity on the Spree where Dorad has a studio next door to Schumann. After using Cubase for 20 years, Schumann made a big step by switching to Ableton Live. “I had some questions about the DAW so he answered immediately,” he remembers. “And then we thought we could do something together.”