Moomin and Smallville Records are a perfect fit. The Hamburg based record store and label has built a great reputation for delivering unfussy but nuanced deep house, releasing records from names like Move D, Lawrence and STL. Moomin comes with the same quality guarantee, having created a signature sound that is warm and hypnotic in equal measure. They have combined forces once again to release Moomin’s new LP A Minor Thought.
While he primarily makes house music, Moomin’s style is influenced as much by 90s New York hip-hop as it is by 80s Chicago. His excellent Melbourne Deepcast, where he contributed an unexpected hip hop mix, is indicative of his love for the genre, and throughout the record he applies its production techniques through the framework of house music.
This tapedeck approach to sampling is most noticeable on ‘Loop No. 1’, a track first released on Moomin’s ‘Closer’ label, with a delicate piano line that could have been lifted straight from a DJ Premier beat. Moomin’s style of sampling is different to the choppy and abrasive techniques used by Max Graef and co.; instead, he lets the piano line roll around and breathe, giving it an air of stoned sensibility. ‘A Minor Thought’, ‘Woman to Woman’, ‘You Never Know’, and fantastic album closer ‘Unshaped’ are all also sample-centric, meaning almost half the record could be described as hip-house.
These days “organic” is a go-to term to describe house music with a sound palette that isn’t entirely electronic. Moomin’s music goes further than this, sounding natural. Opener ‘123’ establishes this early, using a sample of seagulls reminiscent of a grey day by the seaside. But this natural comparison isn’t purely borne out of hackneyed field recordings. The naturalness of Moomin’s music is also come through how laidback, comfortable and at ease it is; an album sat in its favourite chair, drinking a cup of tea, puffing on a Cuban cigar.
This laidback approach means that Moomin’s music also translates well into the album format. Moomin’s style is perfect for home listening, meaning he can make an album of five minute plus house tracks without it sounding like he should have released three EPs instead. This doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work in clubs though. The bouyant acid line of ‘Chemistry’ is custom made for a dancefloor, and standout track ‘Alone’ is the type of wide-eyed uplifting melancholia that has recently been making DJ Metatron such a talked about name.
It’s no surprise that A Minor Thought fits perfectly into both Moomin’s own discography and Smallville’s. When you consider how well everything works – both in headphones and on a system – how it incorporates the best elements of hip-hop and house and makes the most of the LP format, it makes complete sense that this record fits so well.
A Minor Thought LP is out 5th Feb on Smallville. Buy from the Smallville shop and most other good retailers.