Glitterbug


(Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Supershelter (2008), 6.5/10
Privilege (2010), 6/10
Cancerboy (2012), 6.5/10
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German producer Glitterbug (Till Rohmann) crafted minimal techno littered with field recordings and drenched in cosmic electronic scenography on Supershelter (C Sides, 2008). The problem with this kind of music for those who grew up with Giorgio Moroder and the likes is that there is precious little development. The composer simply sets the mechanism in motion and then sits back and relaxes watching its machines repeat the trick for a few minutes.

The double-disc Privilege (c.sides, 2010) feels like a diary of sorts, as if each piece was meant to evoke a place or a moment in time. The liquid electronica and the atmospheric drumming of Waves, the martial and sinister pace and tidal drones of Calcutta, the blurting and metronomic Pink Sparks (Cave Edit), and the lounge-y soul-jazz shuffle of Walk Me succeed admirably. The frantic and anxiety-drenched Cornered even introduces a cinematic dimension. And, when there is no rhythm, the music gets very close to achieving a miracle of transmutation, like in the wavering moonlight reflections of Blue Rift, which evoke Harold Budd, However, it might be sometimes too intimate and personal for public consumption, and therefore some pieces linger cryptically without communicating much, for example the new-age music of opener Lionheart (ambient piano and floating electronic sounds). In terms of pure danceability, Shake And Tumble is the most active track and the bouncy Blast is probably the most inventive in rhythmic terms. Two discs are definitely too much for so few downbeat ideas.

Rohmann continued his mission of turning minimal techno into a highly expressive (and quasi expressionistic) device on Cancerboy (c.sides, 2012), a touching and melodramatic autobiography. The jazzy atmosphere often hinted at by previous compositions surfaces in the noir, narcoleptic, glitchy To Guess. The gloomy mood also pervades the psychedelic and tragic (and much more propulsive) Abyss, whereas the mutations of Passages and the tense metallic drones of From Here On add a metaphysical touch. The album displays the usual problems: lengthy repetitions like Undertow and Don't Stop. that go nowhere. But this is certainly less "minimal" music than it used to be. Best dance groove is the Afro-tribal Those Hopeful Moments which is also, and it is telling, the shortest. The ghostly We'll Still Be Here Tomorrow is an apt ending to an album that is neither about dancing nor about staying "minimal": it is actually a psychological experiment in creating strong philosophical undercurrents by barely making notes flow through a brain. And this closer ends appropriately with echoes of Miles Davis' jazz.

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(Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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