While those slightly behind the times may still see minimal as the sound of the underground, they’re the same that probably think Berlin is the sole arbiter of teuton cool. Robert Johnson, the pint-sized Frankfurt club, nestled in Offenbach, is one of many reasons to refute this. It has been busy getting on with its thing, long before Berlin became the place-du-jour, and 2009 sees it launch its first mix series. And it’s been worth the wait. My sneak preview of Chloe’s Live at Robert Johnson Vol 1 left me utterly inspired and in awe of the most aurally pleasurable house music I’ve heard in a long time. No fanfare, no big branding, just sumptuous music. And, being those paragons of design, there’s even a limited edition for the chin-strokers. Bliss.
It’s been a while since I’ve written about music or an artist, but there’s an album out now that’s worthy of praise, and it’s nothing flashy, glitchy, minimal, but just 14 tracks of beautifully prepared, groovy, perfectly-crafted house. Who is it? It’s Lee Jones. You may not have heard of him, but you deserve to have. He’s been slowly building a catalogue of fantastic records over the last few months: As You Like It, The Icetrain Cometh, Aria, but this is the confirmation of his talent.
Some may find it on the slow-paced side, but it’s clear that the detail and attention paid to the oft-neglected songcraft. Every track is so well put-together, and it builds slowly through the measured pleasure of Soon and Roadwork, through the whimsical and wonderful It Is, Isn’t it. But the highlight is the daftly and brilliantly-named MDMAzing. It’s a fitting end to a great record. It won’t get the fanfare, or the press it deserves, but it should, because it’s brilliant. Listen.