A stunning debut from the Swedish production duo. This is the sound of deep house...
Andrew McGregor 2003-11-17
OK, OK... this record was released in July but it has taken us a little while to find this beauty. We apologise.
The name Plej was originally created for the record label of Swedish siblings Arvid and Ertik Niklasson. But as their studio antics progressed, they decided that making music was more fun than selling it - and adopted the name as a production moniker.
The hazy, black and white images of forests and mountains that adorn the cover of their debut LP Electronic Music From The Swedish Leftcoast seem to somehow suit the wobbly, wistful semantics of their nom-de-disque, hinting simultaneously at the dreamily organic contents that lie within.
Plej's previous output hasn't been abundant but it has been frighteningly consistent. Anyone who has laid ears on their Shimmer and Sky series EPs or their recent "You" track will know already their penchant for creating naturally unfurling deep house which occasionally dips into more experimental micro-house territory - a style they endearingly refer to it as small house.
For those that haven't yet been seduced by the duo's velvety caresses, this album is as good a place as any to get acquainted. Opening cut "Lay Of The Land" immediately offers an example of how they like to infuse their studio beats with a sense of outdoorsy lushness, glazing their 4-4 chugs with delicate layers of coruscating synths and not a little magical moonlight.
The LP unwinds in a similarly rustic manner. The smudged, glacial "Blue", the trumpet-enhanced "Seasons" (the first single from the LP), the insouciant harmonies on "Song", the shimmering disco tendrils of "Jabo's Night Out" and the soft-as-snowflake funk of "Shimmer", all conjure up unashamed feelings of well-being and optimism and make for a thoroughly addictive record.
"Soulset" and "A Jabo Thought" provide the obligatory downtempo moments, but really this LP is about moving club sounds into arenas of experimentation and sexiness. Lying somewhere between the whispered grooves of Herbert, the quirkiness of Isolee and the lush depth of Naked Music, it's the sound of deep house getting its kit off and running joyously through the hills.