Words by the ever erudite Adam Turner.
Austrian artist, Andreas Kunzmann’s new album, entitled Album, buzzes into life within the first few seconds of its opening track – appropriately enough called Coffein . It`s busy tribal drums, fizzing synth-lines and a rubber band bass, are the aural equivalent of a double shot espresso for breakfast, followed by more strong coffee when you arrive at work. Sputnik Rave picks up where Coffein finishes, bleeps and bloops whizzing around a furious kick, joined by a very `90s low-end loop which pushes the piece forward. Sleeping Sunny Day takes its foot off the pedal slightly – a downtempo drumbeat, some Money Mark-style organ, and the first vocal of the set – a whispered voice intoning ‘I’m dreaming/ On this sunny day/ I’m dreaming/ Here I wanna stay’. A melodica wheezes into earshot. Some analogue knobs are twisted left and right. All very laid back. Stop And Go winds-up in a leisurely way, picked notes and a creaking noise, pipes knocking in the hall, and then after around a minute a drum machine makes itself felt and everything shifts a gear, as if the curtains opened so a shaft of daylight can pour in. Wobbly synths. Metallic sounds at the top end. It all falls apart for the finale, though, when the drums stop. It’s all nicely disorientating. Things soon pick up speed again. Yellow is hyperactive from the moment it kicks off – lots of upper range sounds and a muffled beat, suddenly submerging with some underwater bubbling, until a whirring brings things back to the surface.
Side 2 starts out calmer, with the blissed-out state of Seaside. A washed-out two note synth motif rises and falls, the percussion and drums still fairly busy, while sampled waves roll gently into shore. A double time bass-line rides in, giving the tune a bit of urgency, but the surf and the synth keep it all relaxed and pleasant – like a walk along the beach just before dusk, rather than the full-on heat of the midday sun and the jet skies crashing about. Echolot repeats the trick, downtempo electronics, and then a breakbeat shoving it onwards, eventually dropping out to leave the bass and those whirring effects. Stop-start sedated house. Long Way is very woozy, gradually pulling into focus. A voice reappears, someone whispering behind you, while the loops circle and the bottom-end buzzes away, synergising on the soundtrack to a fever dream. Troubleshooting starts out even more of a blur, a wall of static and fuzz, before the bass and a flute bring something more tangible to the fore, and an organ solo winds its way up and down. Final track, Simple, almost made me laugh out loud on first hearing it – child-like melodies played on a toy keyboard, several lines overlapping, while a pre-set rhythm pumps away, it`s not a million miles from The Black Balloons Fowler’s End, an obscure Weatherall and Tenniswood track from the early 2000s.
In places Andreas’ music is reminiscent of `90s artists like Mike Paradinas and Jimi Tenor, a combination of melodic top-lines and busy `90s IDM electronics, employed to make introspective, home-listening-dance-music. Kunzmann doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously, there’s a lot of fun being had here, plenty of light to go with the shade. Pleasingly eccentric.
Andreas Kunzmann`s Album is released today, on Growing Bin Records.
You can find more fine prose from Adam Turner over at his own brilliant blog, The Bagging Area.