The only thing trickier than a DJ putting out an artist album is that same DJ putting out a "sophomore" album. Well, maybe that's not entirely true. I guess something trickier might be a DJ making a beatless artist album... or a line of designer earplugs... or your breakfast... It's not that DJs don't normally produce their own material, because they do. It has more to do with the fact that said material is not always that great. The tendency to float an album on the strength of a couple of popular club tracks is quite high (the same as with any other genre of pop music). But original material is your edge on the dance floor; being able to incorporate new and unique tracks not available to the bloke on the decks thursday night makes your weekend residency all the more hot. And so these releases are subject to some scrutiny. Which is what makes Pictures, the new release from Timo Maas, so peculiar.
Timo Maas has never been one to hide his own material deep within the bowels of a set (his popular Music For The Maases releases are largely nothing but best-of compilations for his stellar remix work). So you get the feeling that he may be a bit more dedicated to producing than the average "-jay." His first effort, Loud, proved to be a step above the norm with solid tracks that found themselves at home in both clubs and cars. It was a mix of electro-techno-funk-a-junk that combined some of the best elements from his remix styles into a largely cohesive and satisfying sandwich. His latest, however, is a bit more curious, although perhaps no less satisfying.
Pictures finds Timo moving a little farther from the disco lights and a bit closer to his fireplace at 3am on a Sunday morning. It's a mostly dark and understated effort, and the incentive to craft an album of floor-fillers was largely tossed out the window. On the first listen you probably won't exactly know what to do with the record. The opener "Slip In Electro Kid" sounds like a Massive Attack-like movie score effort. It sets a rather ominous, but entrancing, stage for what will follow. Because what follows, the eerily sinister "Pictures", is astoundingly addictive... although in a way that pretty much just makes you feel dirty. It's about (yep, you guessed it) someone who wants to take pictures of you. He can watch but won't touch, and wants to take those pictures... And the kinkiness is courtesy of Brian Molko from Placebo.