Panthera Krause sprung out fully formed a few years ago with a house style brimming with acoustic samples and gentle, pop-leaning melodies. After a series of solo records for Riotvan and Lobster Theremin he now finds a natural home with Dresden’s Uncanny Valley, long a promoter of warm, oddball house that occasionally veers into funk and hip hop territory.
The four tracks on Umami focus on melody, but there’s a subtlety and range which is new to his work. Howling For July is subdued yet funky, rooted in a rock-referencing bassline and adorned with smart vocal clips. It takes off midway at the impressive breakdown, where a feverish flute oversees the gradual reconstruction of the track. Closer The Space Between Us is the most delicate of the bunch leading with an echoing bell and a spare, loping rhythm track. A sustain-drenched piano line drifts into play, paving the way for celestial vocals and reinforced drumwork. It’s a slow ascent that plays to all of Krause’s strengths.
The remaining songs are a little different from Krause’s usual style with mixed results. Title track Umami is as close to a club banger as he’s ever come, its rising organ filling the soundfield, underscored by a pounding bassline. There’s a strong contrast between the richness of the melody and the raw vocal loop , while the brief appearance of a swooning arpeggio and a sudden string siren keeps up the drama. Less convincing is Z-Cuts, which goes for scifi menace with its viscous synths and twitching rhythm, but lacks the heft to make the mood stick. Despite this one misstep, Umami is an attractive 12”, bursting with colour and a strong sense of fun.