REVIEW Crowd Control ‘Pianorama’ [Happiness Therapy]

French purveyors of fine club music, Happiness Therapy, welcome back label boss Crowd Control, providing the throbbing dancefloor with four tracks of superb House vibes called Pianorama, label artist Marc Brauner also chipping in with an awesome remix for good measure. It’s the third outing of the label boss on his own imprint – after the split EP Happiness Therapy Split Vol.1 and Fun & Funky – but the first one after a hiatus of three years.

Opening up the 12″ is a slice of pure classic Deep House called Apa; warm bass, classic synths, punchy drums and sultry understated vox from Üjean all blend brilliantly, just a joy to listen to. If deeper vox cuts are your bag, then you’ll not go wrong here, even if  Üjean’s vocals aren’t in your language and you’ve no idea what she’s saying – the vibe will simply envelope you and we all know music is the universal language anyway. Marc’s remix retains the main low-rolling bassline, but adds some vocal-harmony-style pads and little guitar licks, with a new keyboard workout and synths to create a deep, but very uplifting feeling to the track overall. Again, this has nods to mid-late 90s and early 00s sounds, which will tickle the fancy of those who dig the likes of Miguel Migs, Naked Music and that style of deep, but wonderfully warm House music.

The title track of the EP takes what some may feel is a controversial approach, melding Acid and almost old-school piano riffs; so often when this is tried, it doesn’t work at all. Here the two sit perfectly happily together, gradually building to the break, when the true reason for the track title is revealed. A huge piano riff comes in for pure, unashamedly hands-in-the-air action. For those old enough to remember this track, the riff has echoes of the 1989 club hit by FPI Project Rich In Paradise (Going Back To My Roots), there is definitely some late 80s/early 90s euphoria at play here, the drum breaks also have a little hint of rave about them, however, the potential for this to go all-out rave madness is resisted, meaning the track has all the elements of something from 1989, but kept much smoother and up-to-date. Any early clubbers listening to this in the middle of the dancefloor would easily be transported back to raves of their youth! This could well go on to be something of a club anthem in 2023, expect plenty of summer festivals to be awash with the sound of Pianorama

Rounding off the EP is an After Hours mix of Pianorama, which is a much more subtle reworking of the original; here the big piano riff is replaced with a far more sedate synth workout and deeper emphasis on the bassline. For those of you who perhaps like to keep things low-slung and have the club system bass-bins tested out, then this is the version for you. As so often on four-track 12″s, the B2 is perhaps the one which is the most ‘timeless’, due to its deeper feeling and this is the case here, a superb low-end-laden track to close a superb EP.

Crowd Control Pianorama is out on vinyl and digital via Happiness Therapy

Words by Al Bradley

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