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  • Filed under: Review
  • 09/20/2012

Suzanne Kraft Horoscope

When beat-music bastion Friends of Friends launched its house-oriented imprint Young Adults in June, the nascent sublabel immediately made its intentions clear by offering a four-track sampler simply titled YA001. Opening that short EP was "Jus U," a funky, bongo-laden, and disco-tinged house track that brought the name of LA-based tunesmith and dublab affiliate Suzanne Kraft (a.k.a. Diego Herrera) to a wider audience. Now, Young Adults is putting out the newest offering in the gender-bending artist’s catalog, Horoscope.

For the most part, Horoscope follows the same retro-minded formula as its predecessor Green Flash, which was well received following its release last year on German house label Running Back. But whereas Green Flash showcased Herrera's use of vocal samples and disco rhythms to create club-friendly sounds, Horoscope seems to strive for mellowed-out atmospherics. As the title track's cowbell-tinged beat ambles along with resounding claps, Herrera layers reverb-soaked guitar licks into the mix, resulting in a beat that sounds as indebted to chillwave and Balearic influences as it does to house and disco. On "Feel," the producer melds a skittering rhythm with light and airy flutes and synths, while "Crest" finds sweeping synths and G-Funk-esque whines fluttering above the mix. But although Herrera packs a lot into his productions, they never seem to overextend themselves or sound too busy. With the shortest original track, "Ritmo," clocking in at just under seven minutes, each song has plenty of breathing room.

Despite its propensity for sounds of the chill variety, Horoscope is not without danceable moments; second track "No Worries"' simple four-on-the-floor beat is propelled forward by an undoubtedly funky synth-bass riff. "Ritmo" (Spanish for rhythm) follows suit; underneath glistening synth washes, the track lives up to its name through a syncopated stomp forged from cymbal shuffles and tapped hand drums. The remixes fare just as well on the club-worthy front, too; Secret Circuit adds ethereal chimes to his rework of "No Worries," which chugs along with the same funkiness as its namesake. Max D's edit of "Feel," however, is possibly the most surprising and unexpected cut on the release. The producer turns the entire song on its head in a brutal, yet unmistakably pretty manner, bludgeoning the mix into submission with meaty kick drums, bongos, and percussive claps before topping it off with the original’s flute lead. Ending in this way may seem jarring on paper—and it honestly would be if the remix were placed anywhere else on the record—but the final, sudden burst of energy comes as a welcome change, something like a climax after the buildup of the six preceding tracks.

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