Album Review: Metope / ‘Black Beauty’ (Areal)

★★★☆☆

Michael Schwanen plies stylishness with distrust, and signposts warmth and comfort with an ‘enter at your own risk’ warning. Sophisticatedly tense deep house implores that contrary to popular opinion, you shouldn’t let yourself go. It’s a strangely engaging spectacle of a dance floor lined with glumness — not manic depressive, but as if the threat of a thunderstorm may sweep across the decks at any time.

Add to this a small but visible bluegrass theme — steel strings, verandas under streaky purple skies — and Metope earns his spurs. The country-twanged “Rough Romance” presents a correlation where the deeper the beats go, the more uptight the grooves becomes as well, enough to scowl at you from beneath its Stetson; while “So Cutoff” is the kind of rawhide groove local damsels will feel drawn to despite bad vibes being etched across its bassline.

“No Self-Control” feels more immersed in dimly lit, smoke and mirrors deep house culture, redirecting the flow of heat as it goes. “Deep Sheep” is a surprising hard stepper as the vibe moves inside and the sourness begins to burn. Reverting more to deep house type and away from the prairie, Metope goes a little off the boil/too on the money, but does seem to have some of the tension taken out of his shoulders as a result. You’d rather he skirt than adopt convention; either way he’s always a picture of concentration and cunning.

File under: Basteroid, Beachcoma, DJ Koze, Fur Coat

Matt Oliver