Album of the week: Central – Om Dans

A voice arriving out of nowhere says “Wake Up” and before the wispy echo has the time to dissolve completely into the surrounding atmosphere, a kick drum speeds by at a 128 beats per minute into the “Doing This” as Central makes his debut on the long player format. Natal Zaks (Central) has been a prolific recording artist since 2014 with EPs like the “political dance” series for Dekmantel bringing his enigmatic House cuts to the fore, while he and his brother (DJ Sports) have been  cultivating a formidable scene around their hometown Århus in Denmark through their e labels Help Recordings and Regelbau.

As a producer Central’s musical musings live beyond pre-defined parameters, but has always enjoyed a close relationship with House music and the dance floor, which he perpetuates on his latest offering, “Om Dans.” Arranging the LP across what is essentially two 12″ with 2 or  3 tracks a side, Central hardly breaks ranks with what he’s been doing across EPs and cassettes these past years. Breaking in the LP with a hefty 4-4 kick he establishes his intentions and besides the brief sonorous interludes of “The Sleep” and  “T.E.M” he wavers little from the dominant presence of a steady beat, that he swathes in effervescent layers of polyrhythmic percussion and airy synthesisers.

Central’s productions on “Om Dans” cover  the entire frequency spectrum, with an undulating sub bass travelling through each track, hi-hats sparkling in the upper ether and incredibly narrow toms and snares bubbling around the hi mids, perfectly orchestrated to get the best out of a big sound system. Central has never been a producer to pander to popular tropes, and once again on this LP he seems to combine familiar elements from the past and the present, and make it his own through what is a very distinct sound on this record. There’s a kind of clinical minimalism to these tracks, but a superficial one, that if you delve deeper into the tracks you’ll find layer upon layer, creating a dense subterranean void behind each track.

It’s when Central completely abandons a regular form especially on tracks like “Fresh+,” “T.E.M” and “Upward Motion” where this LP is at its most interesting in the context of an LP, and it adds a little something more for the more adventurous listener, without scaring off  dedicated fans of Central’s work. “Om Dans” is an electronic dance music album like we haven’t heard much in recent times, where dance floor cuts intermingle with ambient interludes and a radio-friendly edit for the masses. This LP is more in the spirit of classic records like Robert Hood’s minimal nation or a Theo Parrish’s “First Floor,” where it’s the type of record that you could put on after a night out, to wind the evening down, while at the same time trying to hold on to that elusive feeling on the dance floor.