Berlin’s rising star Max Graef hasn’t put a foot wrong yet. Earlier this year ‘Am Fenster’, a bold and brilliant excursion into stripped-down Detroit jazz, alerted us to the 19-year-old talent. Since, he’s had a string of standout releases mostly confined to limited vinyl runs, including his recent Heavy Setters EP with Andy Hart (reviewed here).
Here he delivers a soulful four-tracker on the ever dependable Melbourne Deepcast. As per usual, his productions hang on a deliciously raw aesthetic, stark minimalism elevated by an organic sort of warmth that is fast becoming his signature.
Opener ‘Pedro’ has a glorious twinkle in its eye, filling its soundscape with a distant frenzy of electronic bleeps propped up by a chugging house beat; the progression unhurried and subtle. The snappy drumwork of ‘A Tale of Love’ is darker fare, squared at smoky, after-hour floors, sporting a grizzled soul sample and hard-edged bass.
‘As If’’s brittle high hats and thudding bass are reminiscent of classic Detroit house, laying down a bumpy machine-driven groove. Slo-mo chugger ‘Jacksonville’ also demonstrates Graef’s on-going fondness for splintered beats, splaying its percussive shards across otherwise tranquil synths.
Graef’s steely, clap-centric beats sound straight out of Detroit, but with a swarming, buzzing warmth that is rarely associated with the Motor City. Hold tight for his new track on Box Aus Holz.
Melbourne Deepcast | September | Format: vinyl