Berlin DJ and producer John Osborn built his name as a DJ first and foremost, with his Sub:stance and Panorama Bar sets achieving somewhat of a cult status among house and techno aficionados. Now with some highly regarded production credentials under his belt, as well as an upcoming headline DJ slot at Amsterdam’s FIBER Festival, the Berlin-based Londoner is really hitting his stride. Osborn once stated that he strives to create a sound that “lives in between house and techno,”and his second solo release, Desire Is Mono—just released on Tanstaafl, the Berlin/Bristol-based label Osborn runs with October and Eric Cloutier—is a true testament to that statement. Like Osborn himself, Tanstaafl manages to perfectly straddle the house and techno divide, releasing four brilliant hybrids since it was inaugurated by Osborn’s debut release, 2011's Epoch4.
The new record's title track follows in the lineage of Osborn’s previous releases, but this time sprinkled with a touch of rave nostalgia. The cut opens with an acid-tinged synth line that would feel right at home echoing through an abandoned warehouse, crawling up from the depths before a sledgehammer-like kick drum slams you in the chest. With every pound of the kick, the synth line twists and morphs, never letting up and providing the driving force behind the track. Osborn doesn’t try to overcrowd things—instead, he focuses on the movement of the tune's strongest elements, with faint, submarine-like pads, loose claps, and skipping hats providing enough variety to ride the track out. On the flip side, “FX06” is pure analog funk: Built around a machine-driven rhythm and gurgling synths, it’s the perfect accompaniment to the bigger-room feel of the title tack. Desire Is Mono might be only Osborn's second solo outing for Tanstaafl, but it further shows that he's just as confident with producing body-moving house and techno tunes as he is playing them.