Dauwd: Kindlinn (Kompakt)
Dauwd Al Hilali signs to Kompakt with the release of this new three-tracker, and it’s a good match. Kompakt’s output has been less unanimously to my liking compared to their earlier years, but they still put out some really fantastic dance music. Such is the case with Kindlinn — it combines the punchy dancefloor sounds Dauwd showed off on his debut What’s There a few years ago on Pictures, but it tempers that against a decidedly slick, melodic edge that feels distinctly Kompakt to my ears and feet. Gone are the tinges of vocal house and 2-step that peppered “What’s There,” streamlined instead and made into something more sleek, more polished, more Kompakt. “Lydia” sets the stage well with a fluttering melodic lead and a patient stride, but the real highlight is the title cut.
“Kindlinn” has a nice contrast of smooth, melancholic disco against some rather distorted, raw leads that give it a little added bite. Its percussive piano chord stabs are the icing on a delicious cake, falling in place in perfect contrast to the shrill lead that swarms overhead. “Rain Raker” rounds it out as a gorgeous comedown, all neo-trance in its patterns but without much of a rhythm section, instead primarily pads, undulating arps, and a cascade of effects. This is by far the best record I’ve heard on Kompakt in ages, harking back to the days when practically every track they released was top-notch to my ears. Fans of relatively recent releases from Coma, Kölsch, or John Tejada on the label will likely fall in love with this one as I have.