Denmark’s second city, Århus, has been quietly cooking up some of the finest house music around lately. It’s all down to the web of artists on labels Regelbau, Help and No Hands, which include DJ Central and his brother DJ Sports. The pair are joined by a host of other artists who appear under a range of guises and groups – according to an interview, they want listeners to have the puzzling pleasure of following the scene across a labyrinth of labels and aliases. It’s part of the fun.
DJ Central, who also released a pair of silky ‘Political Dance’ EPs on Dekmantel last year, gives Help Recordings its first release of 2017 with a potent crystallisation of the Århus sound. Balmy house is the order of the day, stocked with lush melodies that heavily reference classic Chicago sounds. While the tracks could easily light up a relaxed dancefloor, Central focuses on intricate drumplay rather than slamming beats, trading banger potential for the rich interplay of glossy harmonies.
The Basil EP offers three shades of Central’s sound, all crafted with the warmth and delicacy we’d expect from an Århus groove. Basil is the clearest club-bait, its skipping kick more of a punch beside a casual spray of breakbeats, massaged by warm pads and starry synths. Six Moves backgrounds the kick for a gentler ride with a tender array of interlocking melodies, while Sexi Deni is more chilled still, a gentle churn of woodblocks and vocals whose synths subtly hint at something dubbier. In each mode, Central produces with an intensity of detail and polish that makes his tracks loveable on first listen and satisfyingly rich on repeated spins.