Timo Maas


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Calling Timo Maas a "trance" producer was a practice that stopped years before the release of Lifer, and while "progressive house" has been the category he's been dropped in ever since, this diverse album suggests he's an all-around EDM'er, one who was merely waiting for the sprawling genre to be coined. Lifer is just too song-based to be lumped in with the house crowd, as late album highlight "The Hunted," with U.N.K.L.E.'s James Lavelle, fits better with Depeche Mode than Deep Dish. The closing "College 84" with Placebo's Brian Molko proves that Timo -- like BT -- appreciates glitch music and the new pop-electronica of Muse, but returning fans won't go hungry for that "Doom’s Night" throb. Much of Lifer recalls that classic house track and the remix that made Maas a star, especially the low electro rumble of "Kick One, Kick Three," and the nocturnal mood piece "Articulation," where vocalist Katie Cruel gets smoky over some downtempo noir. Taking a sharp right turn is "Cash Johnny," an infectious tribal house winner that's as fun and funky as its name, and somehow, it fits. The bass-driven Lifer keeps the woofer moving, but it's the cool, ever-changing parade of sounds on top that keeps it interesting.