Artists: Oskar Offerman & Edward
Cat #: THEMA036
Format: 12", MP3, WAV
Oskar Offermann and his frequent collaborator and label mate Edward are two of the brightest rising stars in contemporary deep house music. As head of the esteemed WHITE imprint, Offermann has an envious catalog spread across his own label, Aim, and Japan’s storied Mule Musiq; Edward has mostly confined his releases to WHITE apart from a single drop on the mysterious Giegling, and some outstanding remixes on other powerhouse labels. Since their appearance in 2007, the pair of Berliners has only one collaboration record between them in spite of a close association, large individual discographies, and frequent pairings behind the decks. It is thus with great ceremony that THEMA announces their North American vinyl debut with the four-track EP, Verses.
We’ve been following Oskar and Edward for quite some time now, and even given our familiarity with their music, the ominous, shadowy chug of the intro track is a contrast to the studied, Smallville-esque deep house that they’re better known for. Aside from a lonely keyboard melody and an occasionally-comprehensible monologue low in the mix, the throbbing bass and druggy feel of the opener are left remarkably alone for the duration. Paranoid is similarly darkened, a slowed-down, droning house piece that begins in unnerving, acidic ambience and steadily brightens by its end as more traditional deep house melody enters in the pads. Two contrasting versions of Sunrise fill the second side: the first an old-school leaning minimal acid track, and the second an “Underwater Dub” that’s unexpectedly the most extroverted of the four. The repeating sequence of the original version is echoed in a high-pitched acid line that slowly changes timbre over the duration, with the only major shift occurring at the midpoint with the addition of a single-syllable vocal sample. It’s heady stuff best suited for deep afterhours but unashamedly tailored for the floor. Centering itself around crunchy, slowly jacking percussion, the haunting acid takes center stage for the dub mix, and again vocal samples provide a subtle impetus and change while the circling drums power to the end.
Surely this is music whose origins are found in unending Berlin nights, but we at THEMA are proud to bring it across the Atlantic for new ears. Here or there, Oskar and Edward’s talents stand unquestioned and their reputations entirely earned.
Release/catalogue number: THEMA036