Vondelpark: Sauna (R&S)
Yet another odd one coming from esteemed techno label R&S. Vondelpark veers far off-focus into the outskirts of dance music with this 4-track EP of post-rock crossovers. On the surface, these tracks are nothing special — basic drum machine programming with bass guitar, repetitive vocals and some added layers of detail. But something keeps me coming back, again and again. Maybe it’s that these aren’t so much songs as patterns, sharing the same repetition that characterizes much of R&S’s electronic fare. They’re somehow compelling in their simplicity, even with vocals that repeat again and again (yet manage to be unintelligible to my ears), tracks that seem at first a bit unimpressive but take hold and demand repeat listening. They bring a bit of overcast summer to the grey winter haze of Portland.