Artist: Steve Lawler
Title: Kalimba
Label: R&S Records
By: Jason Calvert | 1 February 2009
  • A1: Original Mix
  • B1: Dub Mix
  • B2: Shed Mix

Steve Lawler "Kalimba"Steve Lawler "Kalimba"

Out Now on R&S Records

Steve Lawler is an interesting character but certainly one who needs no introduction. "Kalimba" comes to us on the infamous R & S Records, which has been home to names such as Aphex Twin, Joey Beltram, and Lemon D just to name a few. Whilst Lawler was once hailed for his deep, banging tribal sound, more recent times have seen him lean towards a more mainstream house sound; much to the dismay of a significant portion of his long standing fans. "Kalimba" however is a step back in the right direction.

The Original Mix is a fusion of sorts. I was quite excited to hear the thick tribal percussion ringing through on this one, very reminiscent of some of his earlier works. The drums are the focus of the composition, however they build themselves up around a smorgasbord or old-school house samples. The contrast is interesting and whilst it is a fun track with quite a lot of energy, there is at the same time nothing too extraordinary about it.

For me the Dub is the real highlight of the release. The aforementioned old-school samples have been pushed a little further to the back of the composition and the drums have been beefed up a lot. Since we don't get a lot of solid tribal tracks being released these days, the percussion on this one whips up quite a lot of nostalgia. This banging number is solid enough to appeal to aging tribal fans and also the more mainstream house lovers. A big winner for Lawler.

German Rene Pawlowitz AKA Shed is brought in for remix duties. The old-school feeling is still there but in more of a vintage electro/glitchy way. Both the house vibe and the tribal vibe are lost on this and what the parts add up to is a less than satisfying collection of samples that is not memorable in any distinct fashion. There isn't a lot remaining either to link the remix to either the original or the dub.

Whilst "Kalimba" is certainly a step in the right direction for Lawler, he still needs to stretch himself out a little further to get back in top form. Whilst the dub boasts some heavy duty percussion, the original is slightly lacking. The Shed mix however drags the release down and the track had much more remix potential which was not fully exploited. Unless you are really curious to see what Lawler is up to these days, perhaps you can cross your fingers and wait patiently for his next release.

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