When German brothers Ali and Basti Schwarz joined rhythmic forces to become Tiefschwarz, or deep black, in 1997, the deep house duo put the then-sleepy Stuttgart on the map as a top nightlife destination and released debut album RAL9005. Ten years on and they’ve become a London favourite on their way to international acclaim for their progressive style. Having worked with Depeche Mode, Madonna and Spektrum among many others, they bring us a sweet treat in the form of third LP Chocolate, a smooth and deliciously dark slab of audio enjoyment.
Troxler steps into the ring on “Trust”, sounding much like a cross between a children’s cartoon and a circus played out on a German dancefloor.
The intricacy of Chocolate is in the depth of sounds the duo use and the subtle way their melodies transform. Home Intro bleeds from harp to 4/4 and a soft synth as Home begins with a wailing Daniel Wilde asking ‘how did we get so lonely?’ in a haunting echo throughout. Guests are well used with David Arju provides a creepy vocal on the voodoo-inspired “I Can’t Resist” while Cassy, who has made a name for herself through working with the likes of Steve Bug and Ricardo Villalobos, rubs some of the minimalists’ style onto the Tiefschwarz boys on “Find Me”, a tune that sounds like it could fall apart at any minute yet somehow retains a stumbling mixture of glitchy noises in a danceable order. Berliner Seth Troxler steps into the ring on “Trust”, sounding much like a cross between a children’s cartoon and a circus played out on a German dancefloor — an as crazy as you might imagine it sounds.
Yet between these novel slices of Tiefschwarz output lie the real gems with the adorably soothing “What You Want”, the pumping energy of “Stones” and epic “Accordage” offering simple pleasures. There’s still time for some fun to be had on “Whistler” and “Babel” when the pair play around almost randomly with various instrumentation to accompany their beats, though you’d get sick of a whole album of them. Chocolate shows the duo are having fun with their music while also keeping themselves in check so they don’t forget to include their signature style which has evolved to a carefully-crafted mastery of house. They’re promising a new live show with a focus on visuals to go even deeper than ever before, with this soundtrack it’ll tickle the ear drums and hopefully give the eyes some candy too.