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Master H Thirteen Review

Album. Released 2003.  

BBC Review

Parisian house producer Master H dishes out his disco tinged debut on the excellent...

Lewis Dene 2003

A thespian once mused: "What's in a name? Would a rose by any other smell as sweet?" Indeed a rose would, but when it comes to music names can create preconceptions long before the disc's out of the box. Take our good friend Master H for example. Sounding like a cleaning product we are inclined to ponder whether or not he can remove all know stains.

Thankfully, Master H is a Parisian named Hassen, raised on a staple diet of house and techno inspired by the likes of Laurent Garnier et al. And, at the risk of sounding sycophantic, his debut, Thirteen, is quite possibly the most enjoyable 60minutes of four-to-the-floor house that I've heard for a very long time.

His magical single, "C'est La Vie", is typical of the feel-good disco-influences that underpin much of the foundations to this collection. Less is more with subtle sampled loops, warm strings, sparse vocal snippets and guitar and brass that are as contemporary as they are timeless. For the real disco kids "Mayflower" smacks of vintage Sylvester, with falsettos buried just beneath the surface, while "F Word" works on the dynamics of the 'funk' noun, not a similarly sounding verb!

Songs, in the traditional sense, are thin on the ground. However, "Thirteen" (a co-production with label mates Silicone Soul) sounds not unlike a homage to Kool & The Gang's steering string arrangement's on "Open Sesame". It proves a preamble to the rousing "Don't Stop" featuring the soulful tones of Louise Marshall (she of Silicone Soul's "Right On" single success).

Thirteen, is a refreshing combination of melody, chewy funk and edgy deep-house grooves that show frequent splashes of pop accessibility. Yes, we all know that dance singles seldom translate into dance albums, but this is one of those rare occasions where logic leaves via the window, and we may well have the makings of a 'classic' album.

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