Roar: The Track that Marked Patrice Bäumel's Big Break

Jun 2, 2023

John Cameron

2 min read

“Roar” hooks you long before the danceable polyrhythm in its earliest opening bars gets stretched into abstract oblivion. When Patrice Bäumel dropped the track in 2008, it made a lasting impression on clubland. So much so, in fact, that it elevated him from a relative no-name to a figurehead of considerable renown.

The vaguely engine-like revving sound that made “Roar” famous predated a similar effect in the opening of DJ supergroup Swedish House Mafia’s “One” by two years. Not a kick drum could be heard over the course of the track — but somehow, some way, it just works. Its seemingly random cadence flies in the face of traditional music structure, but its impact on dance floors could not be ignored.

“Roar” was everything Patrice Bäumel needed it to be at the time it came out. A DJ since age 17 who inherited his music journalist father’s ear, he had relocated from where he grew up in East Germany to the Netherlands. It arrived by way of the world-renowned label Get Physical, earning Patrice support from Pete Tong and Danny Tenaglia as well as a residency at Trouw in Amsterdam.

Even Resident Advisor, once known for doling out unforgiving, Pitchfork-like critiques of dance tracks, celebrated “Roar” in no uncertain terms. After an especially illustrative description of the sonics came the passage: “If all of this is starting to sound uninviting, then you’re missing the point; this kick-less wonder could be 2008’s most convincing reminder that all of this minimal-not-minimal-detroit-is-king-laptops-are-evil-vinyl-is-heavy nonsense was at one time supposed to be all about having fun.”

Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to find a house and techno fan who hasn’t heard the name Patrice Bäumel uttered at one time or another. It just goes to show that one track can make all the difference in the world, and you shouldn’t limit yourself to coloring inside the lines.

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