Artist: Roel H
Title: The Dancing Bears / Curly Hair
Label: Furry Music
By: Illya Zubaryev | 15 August 2006
  • A: The Dancing Bears
  • B: Curly Hair

Roel H "The Dancing Bears / Curly Hair"

Out Now on Furry Music

As taken from his Roel H's own official website bio, "Roel Hoogendoorn is one of the latest young Dutch producers and DJs who has just begun to plant some roots within the international House music scene. Born in the small town Badhoevedorp, located just outside of Amsterdam in Holland, this 19-year-old prodigy is ready to make his musical mark. His interest in music has grown throughout his life, and even from an early age, his intrigue with electronic music, in particular, has begun to develop". Introductions of this sort are very commonplace in the electronic music world these days, with young producers and DJs popping up all over the world. Very few, however, are able to get the distinction, respect and approval that young Roel has. With only two remixes and 3 personal releases under his belt, mix inclusion and appraisal from the likes of James Holden, Audiofly and Mylo is certainly an achievement worth noting.

His latest release is 'The Dancing Bears', now out on Furry Music. A two-track 12" that serves as a much needed breath of fresh air for house in this modern age, but at the same time pays homage to not only classical house but Nintendo & Gameboy as well. If that doesn't sound intriguing enough for you, let's see exactly what Mr. Hoogendoorn has in store for us.

First off, we have the title track; 'The Dancing Bears'. The drum track is simple and unpretentious, allowing the rest of the piece to shine. The track starts off with a common 4/4 rhythm, but the first surprise is quick to arrive; in the form of a beautiful synth line that consists of two chords that are strummed in the fashion of a guitar and this filters into the background element that gives the song definition. What happens next can only be described as a mixture of melodies that resemble an electronic classical composition thrown in a blender with old-school Nintendo music. Evolving in the fashion of music for a dark forrest journey in Castlevania, it's an adventure without any climax but nevertheless beautiful and adventurous. Most impressively, all of the melodies flow together with ease and compliment one another perfectly. Complex in its simplicity, Roel's originality and creativity come through in waves, and with the mental image of dancing bears, everything fits together like a colourful jigsaw puzzle.

After hearing the wonderful A-side, I press play anxiously and 'Curly Hair' begins to play. Unlike the title track, this song builds much more slowly with over a minute gone before something more than the drum track is heard. This is fitting however, as the beats are sublime - and not because they involve some modern glitch effects or cliche minimalism, but because what we hear sounds like it's coming straight out of the 90's. Classic house sounds abound; hand claps repeat, reverberating hats open and close, rim hits sound and a hard kick kicks away. The bass line fades in next, and when coupled with the drum track gives the listener confirmation that this will not be a glamorous, melodic journey into heaven. Instead something more akin to a late-night stroll through downtown New York is heard. Repetitive synths sound but meaningfully so, not entirely sinister or menacing, but with in a playful, flowing manner. Once again, young Roel impresses, bringing back an older sound but with great modern style that makes this quite accessible for all kinds of listeners.

So, after hearing both tracks, I can safely say both tracks on 'The Dancing Bears EP' are not for peak-time on a dance floor, but perfect for opening or closing sets. Bringing forward original ideas and creatively combining many interesting and uncommon elements, Roel H has come up with two different, but rare gems of musical craft. With so much music to shuffle through these days, it's hard to figure out what is worth purchasing anymore. This is an essential buy however, unique in every way, from the dancing bears on the vinyl to the wonderful music itself.

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