Essen's own Glenn Astro has called his first album Throwback, and the name is at once a perfect fit and not nearly the extent of the story. On the one hand, Astro has filled the double-LP with a wealth of old-school gestures and textures—the warm whoosh of analog synths, the rattle of Rhodes tines and the sizzle of jazzy drums, all held together by the comforting glue of tape hiss and vinyl crackle. If you're used to the clean sonic lines and stylistic streamlining of so much contemporary house music, then Throwback is sure to feel less like a record you just pulled out of plastic wrap than a well-seasoned one salvaged from a flea market or unfinished basement.
And yet like so many Tartelet releases—particularly the label's last two full-lengths, Max Graef's Rivers of the Red Planet and Uffe's Radio Days—it feels fresh and keenly contemporary no matter how vintage the fabric. Rather than throw back to any one moment, he's given us a collage of styles that's quite literally timeless. Astro makes brilliant work of his influences, drawing on hip-hop, house, funk and soul in such equal measure that it's hard to argue that one impulse dominates the other. The sound certainly flirts with the dance floor, with Astro applying high-pressure deep house pads on the title cut, gliding on shimmering keys for "One For Viktor," and taking us on a vibraphone-fueled workout with "Kilometer Disco," one of a pair of cuts featuring Max Graef. But Astro obviously relishes the time he spends on the sidelines absorbing the atmosphere, or at home head-nodding to the dustiest corners of his record collection. For every house beat you hear, you'll also dip into juicy, 90’s-style beat science, toasty ambience and buttery chord progressions. Expertly paced but never hustling you along, Throwback begs to be heard as a whole but explored at your own easy pace—a record for hazy mornings-after, vibey nights in and endless summer afternoons.