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Random Album Review: Wolf + Lamb - Love Someone

Wolf + Lamb
Love Someone (Wolf + Lamb)

Few artists have generated as much buzz in the EDM underground this last year as Brooklyn-based DJ/production duo and eponymous label Wolf + Lamb. Along with like-minded label consorts Lee Foss, Nicolas Jaar, and No Regular Play, Zev Eisenberg and Gadi Mizrahi's past releases have contributed to a refreshingly whimsical and imaginative revision of house music in the 21st century that does away with the formulaic in favor of real emotion and soul. In debut album Love Someone they shake off the shackles of conformity even further with a series of experimental yet elegant ambient deep house tracks that strip the form down to its bare elements.

Considering their minimal techno background it's interesting to note how Wolf + Lamb's latest work seems to draw away from the cold steely Teutonic aesthetics of Berlin techno, and back to a more folksy American sensibility, a return to the warmer African-American jazz and gospel-tinged roots of house music. Their affinity for this decidedly black musical language recalls Moodymann at his most ambient and austere.

The album kicks off with "Just For Now", a wonderfully strange atmospheric number that seems to evolve out of some cacophonous primordial soup of weird orchestral riffs and atonal noise bites into a sparse jacking house groove, as if conveying the very creative process giving birth to the album. 

Title track "Love Someone" does not sound completely outside the vein of funky French filter house, relying on some particularly delightful brass and string rare groove samples, but not really reaching any point of climax during its six minute run. "I Know You're Leaving" builds ups slowly and hesitantly with a tinny bongo rhythm and dissonant Hammond organ textures and suddenly breaks down into a full-blown negro spiritual acapella before resuming its indecisive beat just as mysteriously as it began. 

Standout track "Want Your Money" is quintessential deep house, with the ubiquitous moody Rhodes chords, chunky drum machine hand claps and soulful vocal flourishes. The accompanying remix by emerging Berlin producer Dyed Soundorom more than does the track justice as a jittery bass-driven rendition that will work even better in the clubs. There are, however, no real club bangers in this LP. Instead Wolf + Lamb have provided a thought-provoking and emotionally rich home-listening record, affirming their commitment to sonic innovation while staying true to the soulful essence of house.

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Sean Levisman

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