Niconé is the versatile musician and likeable style-icon: unshaven and latently bleary- eyed. Over the past years, Alexander Gerlach has become synonymous with a certain playful touch and light-hearted attitude that flows through his music and goes hand in hand with a laidback natural tenor. 2011 saw him release the hugely successful ‘Romantic Thrills’ album together with his good friend and constant partner in crime Sascha Breamer. Now, two years later, Niconé is presenting his first solo full-length, ‘Let Love Begin’, on Stil vor Talent.

Over the course of eleven tracks Niconé showcases a versatile and distinct vision of contemporary house music that is produced beautifully but, more importantly, isn’t afraid to surprise with maturity and playfulness. The title-track ‘Let Love Begin’ opens the album with ample style: brooding and mysterious, Niconé teases us into a deep sonic landscape of enveloping bass, moody piano keys and epic synth pads. Malonda, who recently lent her voice to H.O.S.H.’s ‘Life is Music is Life’ EP, acts as a shining light to guide us through the atmospheric first seven minutes. ‘Hysterminia’ is equally subtle with its delayed chords and a classy deep house bass-line, until wild claps and a dominant piano melody eventually open fire. After the success of ‘Caje’ a new collaboration with Narra was an absolute must. She bedazzles us next on ‘Candelaria’. Here, the melancholic melodies of a Spanish guitar propel the track forward, while a bouncy beat seems made with the summer in mind. ‘You Are My Best Meowfucker’ then pushes us into the club as a techy rhythm and repeated vocal hook draw us to the floor. The track’s twist offers itself in the form of a string loop that lends an oriental edge. Spicy and addictive!

A lesser producer would have perhaps placed the following track, ‘Heroiné’, at the album’s end due to its romanticism, fed by soft synths, gentle progressions and hopeful piano chords. Here, at the center of ‘Let Love Begin’, it acts as a beautiful break, as eight minutes of pure endorphin inducing bliss. The calm before the storm, which follows in the form of ‘Burnhain’. Here, classic house sounds such as driving high-hats and 90s rave stabs offer a nod to the past, while hitting the zeitgeist. ‘Querido’, which features Sascha Braemer and the newly discovered vocal talent Yvy, initially drops the energy before exploding with Mediterranean life, castanets included for good measure. Next, ‘Keep it Deep’ does what it promises as Niconé leads us through an arrangement of aquatic depth with powerful bass hits vibrating underneath dub chords and Benjamin Franklin’s emotional voice: hypnotic, magical and toxic.

Niconé and Braemer hand us the antidote with ‘Wish U’, a track that already proved to be a standout on Stil vor Talent’s recent SVT100 compilation. Fun is of the essence, with a break so big it might just be inescapable. On the last two tracks Niconé moves away from the organic sounds that make up most of ‘Let Love Begin’ as ‘All Right’ and ‘Arr’ are distinctly techier. On the former, Melonda compliments the techno bass-line and old-school sample stabs beautifully, making for an unexpected highlight. On the latter – a collaboration with Gunjah – spherical, almost operatic synths float over a sleek bass bed, thus ending an epic journey on dazzling high. Repeat and let love begin!