Tender Games - Cover- 2014


01.Your Perception
02. Lost
03. Make Believe (feat. Stee Downes & Yvy)
04. Want It All
05. In Her Bed (feat. Miss Natnat)
06. In A Mess
07. Too Late
08. A Million Times (feat. Meggy)
09. City Lights
10. Tonight
11. Freak In The Sheets (feat. Forrest)


A good reputation is everything. Once you managed to build one up chances are high that it might become a trademark; at least when you’re clever. Or when you’re trademark is quite good. We’re not talking about economics here but about a certain artistic approach. Berlin-based electronic label  SUOL managed to create its very own trademark in the course of the past years with TENDER GAMES being the latest addition to the label’s roster. And it’s a really fitting one.

No matter if it’s last year’s promising debut from CHASING KURT, the Suol Mates sampler by TILL VON SEIN or this year’s album Twelve by label bosses CHOPSTICK AND JOHNJON – what you see is what you get at SUOL. Or better said – you can expect a certain quality no matter which artist you choose. It’s this distinctive mixture of smooth house music beats and authentic soul music elements that defines the label’s sound, plus their very own ‘gang’ spirit as well. Just check out last year’s featured story about the guys on NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION.

TENDER GAMES consists of Marlon Hoffstadt and HRRSN, both already crafted producers in their musical fields. And while Hoffstadt is quite fit in the house music microcosm, HRRSN adds his love for folk and soul to the beats, resulting in the well-known ‘SUOL Sound’ in the end. The duo’s self-titled debut presents another interpretation of these two worlds. Your Perception starts the record with paced-down break beats before the smooth Lost debuts the soulful vocals of HRRSN. In the course of the record various guest vocalists join the two gentlemen. An outstanding feature marks Miss Natnats one on the gentle In Her Bed. Like a modern-day soul classic – true, honest and deeply emotional. Quite a brave choice that underlines the band’s ambition to be more than just another hip act in the haze of the ever buzzing ‘house music’ hysteria.

But of course there’s plenty of DISCLOSURE-resembling material on this record. Want It All is pure four-to-the-floor material, same goes for A Million Times, a collaboration with SUOL‘s very own MEGGY or the hypnotic Too Late. The compositions are well known – deep grooving basslines and a gently played Rhodes piano mix with a few guitar elements. The subtle groove is everywhere but never ‘in your face.’ It’s the strength of this debut.

TENDER GAMES‘ first full-length slowly develops the trademark sound of SUOL into new directions in which a traditional dancefloor only plays a featured part. It’s an ongoing progress and it’s interesting to see in which directions it will head in the future. Hoffstadt and HRRNS provide a solid debut album that’s partly lacking of a unique feature as it feels like we’ve heard plenty of other music in this style in the past twelve months. But it also raises the hope for a life and trademark beyond the whole ’90s house music hype.’ Looks like the folks from SUOL can face this impending decline with a maximum of relaxation. That’s what they always do.

Although not reinventing the well-known formula of Berlin-based label SUOL, TENDER GAMES and their debut add a few new interesting elements to it.

NBHAP Rating: 3/5