Lali Puna
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Tridecoder , 6.5/10
Scary World Theory , 6/10
Faking the Books (2004), 5/10
Our Inventions (2010) , 5/10

(Clicka qua per la versione Italiana)

Lali Puna is the project of Munich-based vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Valerie Trebeljahr. Initially a solo project, it came to include Notwist's guitarist Markus Acher when it debuted with the single Snooze and then expanded to a real combo with the additions of percussionist Christoph Brandner of Tied & Tickled Trio and keyboardist Florian Zimmer (of Iso 68 and Fred is Dead). This line-up recorded the single Safe Side.

Lali Puna's debut album Tridecoder (Darla, 1999) offered an austere but minimal and alienated form of synth-pop, with the gentle, fairy vocals frequently stealing the show. 6-0-3 is the simplest possible nursery rhyme: just a fragile refrain whispered over a drum machine. The idea is not new (Laurie Anderson did it twenty years earlier, and Stereolab abused it in the 1990s), but Trebeljahr does it with the "girl next door" attitude, not the intellectual attitude of the new wave. The instrumental System On proves that her voice is not even necessary, because the effect is the same when the childish melody is carried by the keyboards and the beat intensifies. She doesn't even sing, just speaks, in Rapariga Da Banheira, letting the Brazilian rhythm take front stage. The tone turns a bit existential in Everywhere & Allover, with another vague reference to Brazilian polyrhythms. Finally, she merely talks in Tocs-Discos, and the anemic music merely runs its pointless course. A violin breaks the dogma of infinitesimal means in Fast Forward, and the effect is almost epic by comparison with the plain, flat, bland arrangements of the other songs. Jazzy drums propel the finally vital, movile and almost exuberant instrumental Superlotado that closes the album. Too little too late. These are electronic twee-pop ballads that possibly coin a new genre, but rarely stand on their own merit.

Scary World Theory (Morr, 2001) is more avantgarde, in that it incorporates subtle production techniques and transcends the roots of funk, soul and hip-hop. Occasionally abstract and subliminal (Don't Think, Middle Curse, Come On Home) and occasionally convoluted in a post-rock fashion (the instrumental tracks Contratempo and 50 Faces Of, the This Heat-ian Don't Think), the music aims simultaneously for the heart and for the brain. The resulting synth-pop structures are candid-camera immersions in the singer's ego (Nin-com-pop, Bi-Pet, Lowdown, Scary World Theory).

Faking the Books (Morr, 2004) sounds like a compromise between the digital world and the pop world, neither light and entertaining enough for the latter (despite the relatively catchy Call 1-800-Fear Micronomic) nor experimental enough for the former (Faking the Books, Geography-5, Crawling by Numbers). The only notable differences with the past are a more assured vocal role by Valerie Trebeljahr and hints of real rock'n'roll on B-Movie and the single Left Handed.

I Thought I Was Over That (Morr, 2005) collects rarities.

Our Inventions (Morr, 2010) was elegant and ethereal as usual, but still lacked a sense of direction and purpose.

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