Hop aboard the Crystalline Express, a mobile club that traverses through the center of this planet’s most impressive crystal mines! Patrons file into the glass chamber, the doors close behind you, and the engines rumble with life. You ride the rail into a massive opening in the mountain’s jagged surface, and you are plunged into darkness. Suddenly, you are surrounded by glistening, colorful crystals, accompanied by a tantalizing beat, bassline, and melody . . .
At its core, house music is formed by varying concoctions of three ingredients: drums to establish underlying rhythms and tempo, synth leads to create character, and basslines to marry the two by bolstering both the beats and melodies. Contorting aspects of these pieces is where we get sub-genres, but greatness comes from careful attention to each of them. Running Hot is the newest release from Berlin producer Ralf Schmidt as Aera.
Consisting of four original tracks (and two stellar remixes from Dutch producer Steve Rachmad), this EP is a prime example of minimal house/techno done oh so right. These compositions focus on slow-burning beauty, complete with buoyantly propulsive beats, enticingly groovy basslines, and vibrantly fluorescent synth melodies that glisten like polished crystals. Although brief, it’s gorgeous, enthralling, and dripping with color.
These arrangements are ripe with instrumental intricacies, but they also sound incredibly playful, and this dichotomy between stringent house music configuration and enthusiastic experimentation is what makes it such a joy to listen to. Running Hot is a wonderful illustration of a seasoned producer reveling in his element without reinventing the wheel. If you’re seeking polished, melodic house, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)