Chris Liebing, Nicole Moudaber – “I Will Be A Devil Until I Am An Angel” (CLR) [November 24, 2023]

Nicole Moudaber brings a deep and grooving funk to Chris Liebing’s hard and heavy straight beats in what seems like a long overdue matchup with “I Will Be A Devil Until I Am An Angel” EP off CLR.

It feels like Chris Liebing has been busy retooling and inventing himself in life and has found new vigor after reinventing the CLR label this year on “CLR107.” So too, it feels like there’s a new direction that artists like Nicole Moudaber have been finding that’s less progressive and a bit more forceful in an era of harder and harder peak time Techno. 

And to be quite honest, this matchup between Liebing and Moudaber is super ideal since, on their own, they exist on opposite ends of the spectrum. One has Moudaber known for her big and well-produced peak time progressive Techno-meets-House and the deep journeys therein. On the other hand, you have Chris Liebing, who’s known to have been a leading force in underground Techno for a very long time by breaking careers on his podcast, helping to mint the Schranz genre, and for his layered, hard straight beats which greatly compliment anything you’d want to layer on top of them.

As such, the A-side of this single, “Watch Me Choose You,” is an effective demonstration of when the massive and powerful groove of Nicole Moudaber is injected into the superbly well-thought-out kick and hat combinations of Chris Liebing. There’s an apparent dividing line on some of the jobs here in the music if you’ve known and listened to their catalog. But you can also tell there’s a lot of excitement pulling both of them together out of their regular routines which is exhilarating to listen to. 

The B-side flip, “When You Are Near,” is a more drummy and Acid-laced Techno workout, which places the focus away from Liebing’s standard, epic, warm-sounding kicks focusing on something a bit more dry and crispy to match the resonance of the Acid line throughout. It is quite a refreshing change coming from both of them.

This two-tracker is quite an impressive collaboration, because it sounds like neither of them as you are used to hearing them, but it still retains the characteristics of their music that encompasses each of their quintessential styles. It feels like they are challenging each other to be different in a lot of respects, and it is clear there’s a real joy of discovery contained within these recordings because of that. These tracks are fun, exciting, frenetic, fully danceable, and really exciting to listen to. If these tracks are just the tip of the iceberg on an upcoming LP, we’re here for it.

-Sean Ocean

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