Release Date: Apr 29, 2016
Record label: Mule Musiq
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
Mule Musiq is a label that consistently delivers top-quality music across a wide range of styles and genres. Although they all differ stylistically, there’s a distinct vibe that seems to run throughout. It’s hard to quite put a finger on what that is, but it’s also hard to deny its existence. Perhaps it is the family-like vibe put forth from the label—a close-knit roster of artists continually return to the label, DJ Sprinkles and Kuniyuki Takahashi to name just two.
Dance music, by definition, is communal—except when it's not. The German electronic musician Lawrence, aka Peter Kersten, makes house music that's as much about getting lost in one's head as being enfolded by the crowd. And while Kersten rarely strays too far from dancefloor-oriented forms, his work has spent the past several years getting steadily dreamier.
It’s no wonder Hamburg’s ultra-subtle techno explorer Peter Kersten forged a relationship with Tokyo label Mule Musiq, the home of understated but devastatingly beautiful grooves. This is the third part of a trilogy of albums and follows 2014’s mostly ambient ‘A Day In The Life’ with similar gravity free chords and caressing textures, but returns to underpinning them with a solid tech-house framework. That works just fine, and there are certainly moments of huge elegance and even dancefloor nirvana here, but the rigidity seems to stifle some of the magic in comparison to the album’s predecessor.
"Warm" might be the word most often used in reference to Peter Kersten's music. It describes the gentle and welcoming aura of his tracks, but it could just as aptly be used in the Goldilocks sense, as in "not too hot, not too cold." As Lawrence, Kersten has made a career out of subdued house with a temperature range that sits between fiery heat and chilliness. On his latest album, Yoyogi Park, that moderation is both a blessing and a curse.The cover art, drawn by Kersten's go-to illustrator Stefan Marx, depicts the album's titular mid-Tokyo oasis.
Yoyogi Park is the third album in a trilogy of collaborations between two Germans, electronic musician Lawrence and artist Stefan Marx, recorded for the Japanese label Mule Musiq. It follows Films & Windows (2013) and A Day in the Life (2014). Lawrence’s music and Marx’s cover art are meant to evoke the titular Tokyo landmark. The ten lengthy tracks here do succeed in projecting a feeling of placid repose.