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Kuba Sojka - Mysterious Intrigue


Jamal Moss’ Mathematics imprint, known for its rather idiosyncratic approach to genres and some uncompromising releases (Ministry anyone?), has recently nestled into a less left-field groove with releases from the likes of John Heckle showing a more straight up slant. One of the newer additions to the roster, Polish 23 year old Kuba Sojka, follows up last year’s EP with a debut album that is an instantly accessible homage to all things house.

A tale of two records, the first half is a soul- & jazz-tinged affair with the laidback air and soulful vocals of opener ‘Stupid Lover’ evocative of a “Now That’s What I Call a Cafe Del Mar Clubbers’ Essential Guide to Balearic Chillout Annual” compilation from the mid-90s. ‘Here Comes The Sunshine’ breaks out the funky bass and lounge room piano reminiscent of Roy Ayers while the title track is channelled straight from a dark jazz café.

‘Magical Trumpeter’ marks the turn towards the more dancefloor focused second half with a classic Detroit techno sound overlaid with the titular brass instrument. ‘Do Not Be Afraid’ is sure to cause some consternation in the Knuckles household with Sojka taking every cliché of classic house music (a repetitive soulful vocal refrain, melancholic strings, stabbing piano chords, rattling crashes and an epic breakdown) to create a pop-house hybrid that Tensnake has spent his career aspiring to produce. Sojka, to his credit, refrains from letting the cheese levels get too high and ‘Do Not Be Afraid’ provides some dumb fun that’s crying out to be dropped in sets.

‘Mysterious Intrigue’ is something of a misleading title with Sojka’s influences so flagrantly paraded in the nine tracks on offer; the young producer doffs his cap towards Detroit & Chicago whilst showing his jazz musician background in the earlier exchanges. Formerly known for making dub-influenced IDM & ambient as Psi-acoustic, ‘Mysterious Intrigue’ gives the impression of a producer that is still feeling his way about his sound. That much is evident in the final four tracks where he tackles deep house (Awakening Silesia), classic techno (Voyager 1), electro (Metropolis) and acid (I Can’t Stop). All four are solid club fodder and amongst the stronger tracks on show but there is the inescapable nagging doubt that Sojka has been using classic tracks as blueprints rather than muses. The enthusiasm inherent in this scattergun approach is endearing however and there’s plenty on offer in the latter half of this album to make this a producer of potential.

Paul Fanning

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