TIMO MAAS Loud (Perfecto)

"Loud" is the debut studio album from German DJ and remixer Timo Maas, whose only previous entry into my record collection was via his thunderous, bass-heavy remodel of Azzidio Da Bass' "Dooms Night". It's an amiable enough way to spend an hour, with several stand-out moments. Opener "Help Me" is storming, all Portisheadesque Theremins and samples from Bernard Hemann's score for "The Day The Earth Stood Still", topped off with what seems to be an uncharacteristically restrained vocal performance by Kelis. "To Get Down" is agreeably funky, and Finley Quaye arrives to riff on the same word association thing that sunk his second album commercially (whilst probably ensuring it iconic cult status decades from now) on "Caravan".

But for the most part "Loud" doesn't really work as listening material. Played, programmed and produced for the dancefloor, it's light on melodic variation and heavy on rhythm. Whilst some DJs turn these conflicting requirements to their advantage and respond with material so ferociously over the top that its sheer manic, frantic energy carries it along successfully in a domestic setting (for example Aphex Twin's early singles, or any Jeff Mills album), Maas' first work sounds rather rubbery and antiseptic. Which doesn't mean "Loud" isn't necessarily state-of-the-art dance music (it reminds me strongly, more than any other album, of Deep Dish's well-received debut); it's just not the kind of thing I could see myself bouncing around the house to.

TIMO MAAS Shifter Feat. MC Chickaboo (Perfecto)

"Shifter" is the second single to be taken from Maas' debut long-player "Loud", and it's one of the album's more memorable tracks, although not substantial enough to hold the attention over the duration of the six mixes that pad out my promo copy. It sounds strangely old-fashioned now that the authentic clunk of 'real' synthesised percussion and rubbery basslines have all been swept aside by the storm-in-a-tacky-teacup of electroclash. Pleasant, but in being so relentlessly programmed for the dancefloor it can't help but sound like background music away from it.

TIMO MAAS FEAT. KELIS Help Me (Perfecto)

"Help Me" is the bubbly, rubbery sci-fi standout from Timo Maas' debut album "Loud", invested with the lion's share of the album's personality by virtue of its Bernard Hermann samples (from the soundtrack of "The Day The Earth Stood Still") and a restrained vocal by Kelis that borders on the Stepfordesque. As is usual with these affairs, everything you need to know about the song can be found within the three minutes of the Radio Mix, rendering the five versions that follow it on this - including remixes by such luminaries as Deep Dish and Kamanchi (a.k.a. Krust and Die) - utterly superfluous.