Joining the likes of Azuri & III, Romanthony and Mighty Mouse, Hamburg producer Marco Niemerski, aka Tensnake, has become one of the retro house scene’s breakout stars thanks to a series of old-skool anthems which hark back to the late 80s heyday of Frankie Knuckles.
Formerly a mod, and then a goth, the German DJ became inspired to venture onto the dance floor after getting hooked on the sounds of Masters At Work and Larry Levan and witnessing a Boris Dlugosch set in the early 90s. After several years of working for a music promotion company, he hit the decks full-time, launched his own Mirau label, and released his first track, the minimal Kraftwerk-esque electro of “Around The House” in 2006.
However, it was the 808 snares, glossy synths and soulful vocal samples of the Chicago house movement where Tensnake’s talent truly shone, leading to regular sets at Ibiza superclubs Pacha, Amnesia and Space, slots at Glastonbury, Bestival and Melt!, and a string of immediate floor-fillers, several of which appeared on his Defected compilation In The House and his 2011 limited edition Live + E.P.
The most addictive of these tunes is the brilliantly playful “Coma Cat,” the modern club classic which borrows the chiming bells from Anthony & The Camp’s “What I Like” and fuses it with a Stock Aitken and Waterman-style production full of rolling piano stabs and euphoric Balearic squeals.
This is not the only utterly infectious pastiche in Tensnake’s canon. “Something About You” begins as a minimal acid rave number before slowly building up to a vintage slice of Italo house. “Congolal” adds a dash of electro-funk to proceedings with its slap-basslines and warm ethereal synths, while “You Know I Know It” is a space-age take on Blondie’s “Rapture” with its detached spoken word vocals, new wave beats and sci-fi riffs.
A dab hand at remixing too, Niemerski has transformed Friendly Fires’ “Hurting” into a gleaming nu-disco anthem, given Lana Del Rey’s “National Anthem” a bouncy dancehall-tinged makeover, and turned Azuri & III’s “Reckless With Your Love” into a C&C Factory Music classic as covered by Massive Attack.
Reportedly featuring an array of high-profile names, Tensnake’s debut album, scheduled for release next year, seems just as likely to have us partying like it’s 1989.