Available on: Ostgut-Ton LP

Steffie Doms’ debut album for Ostgut Ton is unified by its aesthetic understatement. Yours & Mine harks back to house music’s early-’90s maturation when projects like Mr. Fingers, Don Carlos, Kerri Chandler and even Jam and Spoon created spacious, stripped down anthems from just a few synth riffs draped over ambient backdrops. This era birthed the first so-called tribal, progressive and dub house recordings, the essence of which echo throughout Doms’ lush full-length project.

Steffi – who drops the “e” from her first name for her solo recordings – presents deceivingly basic song structures throughout this album’s nine works. No wailing divas, clattering percussion or ferocious snare crescendos here; instead Steffi delivers a host of mesmerizing two-chord tracks that chug along with only subtle synth subtractions and additions altering the vibe. Moody groovers like ‘Nightspacer’, which, true to its title, is definitely built for post 2 am dance environments, reveling in the repetition of its whispery keys and moody chords. Other instrumentals on the album, including ‘Lilo’, ‘Arms’ and ‘Manic Moods’ follow suit with pleasantly warm and soothing arrangements that, while somewhat one-dimensional, rarely bore.

Two vocal numbers add nuance to the project. ‘Yours’, featuring chanted lyrics from Virginia Högl, could easily mix with classic Murk Records titles by Liberty City or Coral Way Chiefs, its chorus so catchy that you could easily hear it being a sleeper favorite at Winter Music Conference in Miami. By contrast, ‘You Own My Mind’ is weaker vocally and the song construction lacks character. It’s an unconvincing track that should have been left off the project. That one very minor gaff aside, Steffi’s debut is rich invitation to rediscover house music’s deeper roots as interpreted by a great young talent.

Tomas Palermo

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