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David August

Berlin, Germany

House, Tech House

Counter Records, Diynamic, Innervisions
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Peace Of Conscience EP (Review from

It was with great excitement when I saw a David August promo appear in my inbox. His smash earlier this year, Instant Harmony, was quite simply an unbelievable piece of music, the like of which you rarely see within the strait-jacket of 4 × 4 house. Not a sample in sight; just great sounds and great composition.

I couldn’t quite say the same about the A-side of his latest offering, Peace of Conscience – same genre certainly; takes a long time to kick in, quite organic and dreamy with good sounds, but doesn’t have the killer hook it needs to bring it to life. So it was unfortunate that it isn’t quite in the same league, but fan-bloody-tastic that the B-side Hamburg is For Lovers most certainly is.

August has done it again with this one, and in what is a commercially savvy move, has crafted something with the epic elements of Instant Harmony but with a more banging beat and a quicker tempo, which will allow for more peak time potential. Although come to think of it, maybe it isn’t commercially savvy at all – it could just be a coincidence – it’s not like there are any other commercial or conventional DJ-friendly elements to the song. It starts with quite a prominent bass line that won’t make it overly versatile when it comes to mixing it in and it takes a longer than usual time to drop, but so what; DJs ought to make the effort – the piano riff in this is absolutely brilliant. The build-up is brilliant. The final breakdown is even more brilliant than the first (I’m a sucker for songs that save the best ’til last). What can I say? Pure brilliance!

So onto offering number three; Soul Fiction. A characteristically classy David August build-up is surprisingly complemented by a spoken vocal, which in isolation would probably sound a bit cheesy, but the nagging warmth of the song carries it through very well, and once again, a nice big breakdown last up. Right until the last throes, you always feel that August songs are evolving and you never seem to be left disappointed if you keep your mind on the job – something crops up, there’s some variation; something to get you thinking. Excellent.

But then it gets even better. Believe it or not, right from the the first loop of what is an absolutely sick bass line, it immediately reminded me of JX – Son Of A Gun (although I’m sure August would be devastated at such an analogy, rhythmically it’s almost exactly the same), so, errr, as per JX, there’s something catchy going on right from the off. The bassline wurrs and wurrs and then August bends the rules by giving us a break after 40 bars (most mortals would have done it after 32), the drums disappear but the wurring builds in intensity and kicks back in with real verve. It’s catchy, it’s different, it’s actually quite pounding, and excuse another mention of tempo, but at 120 this song feels more intense than most you’ll hear that are much faster than that.

And then this ridiculous lead instrument comes in; answers on a postcard as to exactly what it is, but it sounds to me like a pipe organ with a massive grin on its face, waltzing in without a care in the world; and it’s in complete contrast to the filth underneath it, but it totally works. But he hasn’t finished (of course he hasn’t, it’s David August) so cue a two minute breakdown where the comical lead buggers about and the bassline gets more and more agitated, and bang – complete and utter bedlam that can make you screw your face up just as easily as it can make you laugh your head off (I can’t get over that organ).

I don’t know whether David August knows just how good he is – there seems to be this reckless abandon rarely seen in dance music of someone that doesn’t quite realise the significance of what he’s doing, spewing his art all over the place without any regard for the norms of the scene – but unlike most of the experimental, ‘different’ stuff you admire but don’t necessarily like, it works, and you can dance to it. Admittedly, it’s not easy to DJ with if you’re a conventional house/techno DJ (too slow for peak time, too good for warm-up) – that may hold him back commercially, but perhaps that’s for the best. If there’s any Justice, August will become world-famous (he’s only 20, so plenty of time), but if he doesn’t, as long as forward-thinking labels like Dynamic give him a platform for his ideas, he probably won’t care.