This is just one of many variations on a common argument these days about artistic oversupply, inter(hyper)connectivity and the general ennui that many of the more vocal type of music fan seems to find themselves in these days. It’s too easy; it’s undervalued; a whole generation does not value what we used to value; the embarrassment of riches.
I don’t understand these arguments. I do not “get it”. I keep trying and failing.
(Somewhere, someone with a degree in missing the point sums up all of these things as “first-world problems” or, more commonly, “white people problems”.) Continue reading
My only complaint about this rather hefty three track EP is that the middle selection – “Berlin Tribal Music” is a seven minute filler piece. It is not unpleasant, but it lacks the relentless thrust which marks the lineage of Urlub. It seems odd to say “Well, twenty-eight minutes is too short, but thirty-five would be just right, so let’s glue on this floaty ethno-dubbish piece that feels completely out of place between two far longer tracks.” It seems unlikely that anyone actually said this out loud, but someone probably should have.
That said, this is a delightful nighttime driving soundtrack. Preferably urban and deserted; failing that, something coastal.
Opener “Riese” is the more upbeat of the two “bangers”; a single staccato melody sandwiched with perfectly smooth minimal tech percussion and surprisingly cheesy-but-effective synth washes.
Closer “Dancing Queen” is either so earnest my jaded brain can’t even begin to process it or so jaded my earnest heart is simply unable to keep up. This twofer seems to have a love of the kind of synthy string sound that would be written off as far too much cheddar in most other contexts, has enough “funk” swing to be just about excusable here.
This is a well-crafted love letter of sorts to the mid-90s. A little Basic Channel, a dash of Global Communications, and a hell of a lot of Higher Intelligence Agency. As such, it carries both the strengths (experiments with sounds and textures, lush for the sake of lushness) and weaknesses (severe repetition) of that moment in musical time.
Some objections: It is a bit baffling; it’s an an odd hill to die on; it often sounds like the weaker and more forgettable moments of the largely forgettable career of HIA* – but she’s enough of a tastemaker to inspire some copycats. Some of these copycats will go in new directions via inspiration rather than settling for echoing the echoes of an echo.
This warms my heart with nostalgia, and perhaps even – dare we say it? – hauntology.
* The fantastic matchups with Biosphere excepted, mind you. He helped transmute their laziness into gold.