Once a piece of music leaves a musician’s studio, they lose all control over its identity. Writers like me ascribe all sorts of esoteric meaning to collections of samples, synths and drums whereas for all I know, whoever made the tune just threw some parts together in Logic until it sounded cool & then moved on. But for me, listening to the restrained chords and brilliantly crunchy deep house percussion of Nico Lahs‘ “Deepstate,” with its vocal refrain that vaguely recalls Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” it feels elegiac, almost spiritual. House is, after all, a feeling. 

I’ve mentioned before in these pages how the tension and progression in a deep house track often comes from little more than what sounds like someone manning the mutes on a mixing desk, relishing the contrast between a lone kick and a drum track with layers of percussion, rinsing out that little twitch of dopamine you get when the dusty Rhodes keys first drop in, and the dance floor lift you get when the bass drops out. Well that’s what you get with “Cuz I Luv You So”; it’s essentially made of Roland drum sounds dropping in and out of the mix on top of a b-line and some keys. When done well, simple ideas that have been done before can still sound great.

Lead track “Step Into The Future” is, weirdly, probably the weakest of the bunch. The whole EP has super dope drums — they’re really crispy, like he spent ages on the EQ & overdrive and all that stuff — and the A1 has got them too, but its Rhodes chords & synthetic flute riff combo are just a little too pleasant for my taste, especially when compared to the megadeepness of the rest of the EP. Final track “Flying High” has, unsurprisingly, something of an Italian house feel to it, with echoes of Last Rhythm’s “Last Rhythm” in the main chord riff and could deliver a brief dose of casual, throw-away euphoria to your dance floor.

Nico Lahs: Step Into the Future (Selections / 12″ Vinyl / September 2022)
A1. Nico Lahs: “Step Into The Future” (6:25)
A2. Nico Lahs: “Deepstate” (6:37)
B1. Nico Lahs: “Cuz I Luv U So” (5:33)
B2. Nico Lahs: “Flying High” (5:40)

⚪️ Disclosure Statement: This record was submitted as a promo.



Originally published in 5 Mag issue 201 featuring the making of Detroit techno documentary God Said Give Em Drum Machines, 10 years of Heist with Dam Swindle, Nala on Mi Domina, Ultra Nate, Steve Mill, what Spotify is doing to dance music (and why it’s a bad thing) & more. Help support 5 Mag by becoming a member for just $1 per issue.

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