A solid solo EP backed up by a remix from DJ Boring.
Stanley Schmidt – Smart Replies
Stanley Schmidt is the lesser-known half of the duo behind Vienna, the label he started with DJ Boring last year. But he’s hardly a newcomer. He’s been releasing music since 2012, runs two other labels and is a resident at the popular Buttons party at Berlin’s ://about blank. Like the label’s last release, a collaborative EP from its two bosses, Smart Replies touches on a breaks and rave-inspired sound. Schmidt and DJ Boring aren’t the only producers flirting with ’90s sounds, but they manage to bring grit and angst to the template. The results are impressive, even if they aren’t particularly surprising.
Three cuts of basement-ready techno make up the A-side. “Shifting Modernism” and “Brutal Ornament” are percussive assaults, both of which merge breaks with double-time kicks and echoey vocal snippets. “Spacious Lush With A View” slows things down while incorporating a funky bassline. Things get moodier on the B-side. Sounding like the audio track to some fuzzy old rave footage, “Critical History” is a more warped homage to the ’90s, overlaid with hazy atmospherics. “Smart Replies” sounds very Ilian Tape, combining hard-hitting breaks with big choral chords. DJ Boring’s remix of “Shifting Modernism,” chunkier and more straightforward than the rest of the EP, seems a little out of place here. It’s a decent new direction, but the remix lacks the creativity of Schmidt’s original.