Sometimes it is about managing expectations – expectations only set up for disappointment and scare people away. So please don’t expect too much from Axel Boman’s first full length, out on his own label Studio Barnhus this week, as it is a delicate creature. The Swedish producer released some EPs on different labels before, with DJ Koze’s Pampa Records being the best known among them. It also is the most significant label for being able to understand where Boman’s approach to house music is coming from. Just like DJ Koze, he deals in cute and mellow house, where it is less about hooks, builds or effects, but about feeling good and being taken care of. “Family Vacation” is the house equivalent of a light hug, or a summer breeze.
Listening to one of the album highlights “Fantastic Piano”, above, kind of shows how this gem of an easy listening house album is working, with the instrument that gave the track its title carefully running its course while different other elements fade in and out – promising to the listener that this might go into full percussion mode at any time. But instead, Boman is restraining those additions to the being the quirks and sparks of the track – its character. That is what is meant by managing expectations: As a listener, you need to approach this album with an open ear, trusting it to take good care of you. And you can trust it – trust it to never blow up in your face or go into full dance mode, but instead to take you by your hand and engulf you with its charming personality and its cute ideas. I promise that it will put a smile on your face.