Having established a solid name for himself on the European club circuit after close to two decades of mainly DJing and remixing, Timo Maas is finally due with his first album of original studio material. And with this superbly crafted album, filled with intriguing and energetic dance tracks, he should at long last see some well-deserved recognition from the general public as well.
As his brilliant slogan “Music for the Maases” seems to suggest, Timo exists in that wonderful place between blatant commercialism and idiosyncratic individuality that makes his finest work so attractive, ensuring both availability and originality. On this album, there are enough of these moments to keep things interesting throughout. Opening track “Help Me,” featuring an outstanding performance by Kelis, is an absolute monster and deserves to rule both radio waves and dance floors this summer, as does the immediately following “Manga.” “Hash Driven” unsurprisingly takes things down a bit, with a sound that’s heavily reminiscent of what Ninja Tune is known for releasing. “Shifter,” with its infectious structures and chilled-out vocals, could prove to be a real crowd-pleaser, while “Old School Vibes” is a brilliant feverish and beat-heavy Chicago techno-pastiche.
Surprisingly dark and sinister in its overall tone, this isn’t your regular plate of assembly-line club music. Admittedly, there’s a few misses — most notably the clumsy “That’s How I’ve Been Dancin'” — but all in all, Timo Maas has made a surprisingly convincing, coherent album, one of those rare releases that’s great for both clubbing and listening to.