Founded as a cassette mixtape label by Dan Bust in 1994, Palham Music grew into a fully-fledged party series later on and beginning with 2003, the german label also started occasionally releasing music on vinyl. Although the quantity of their releases will not impress anyone, the sheer quality truly stands out, as Palham succeeds in maintaining their financial independence as well as their artistic freedom. This can clearly be heard in the music they put out that featured artists like The Analog Roland Orchestra, Holger Flinsch, Lowtec, Pressburg and Flavio Diners under his many aliases.
For their ninth release, Palham invited Cologne's beatdown house revelation, the amazingly talented Ugly Drums. Steffen Baldo has been making soul-soothing beats for over 10 years now, but it took him quite a handful of EPs in recent years on labels such as Black Key, Kolour, Fifty Fathoms Deep, Faces and an entire album on Quintessentials to get him properly noticed. 'Pink Apples' is another example of Steffen's genius of seamlessly blending together analog vintage gear, modern digital software and acoustic instruments together into what's accurately described as a cinematic experience of sounds and motion through rhythm and feeling.
From the very first bars of the opening track 'Scorpio's Things Related' we are introduced to a world unlike our own. Filtered vocals and atmospheric pads set the mood while a deep synth bassline and tight kicks set the scene in motion. Dreamy strings glide over melodic piano chords and drum samples struggle to emerge while the tastiest vocoder grooves straight into your consciousness. Up next 'Can't Take You Down' goes really down and deep with its bubbly low end spectrum that supports an array of elements from the stuttering vocal cuts, evocative synth pads and sudden metallic stabs to on-the-point rim shots and sublimely mixed acoustic african drums.
'Spend Some Time' greets us on the flipside in a seemingly haphazard manner that starts off smooth and soulful then turns into a steamy body moving episode of wide kicks, raw futuristic synths and whirling sci-fi strings only to subside into the initial state of sleazy rhodes, rhythmic claps and repeating hi-hats. 'Spend Some Time' completes the journey with a lush mid-end-centred piece featuring both Rhodes and Wurlitzer trademark keys, dramatic vocal cuts and a complete drum arrangement which also features some clever filtering on the cymbals. There is however no shortage of low-end on this one either, as the kick drum is fat as fuck and the bass full and wide.
Ugly Drums' 'Pink Apples' comes in a special packaging that features self-made hand-numbered covers in five different colours and is what I would call the definition of underground house and the perfect embodiment of its deeper lush sounds. Limited edition of 497 copies so don't sleep on this one!