Secret Moon by Klartraum – Lucidflow
Nadja Lind and Helmut Ebritsch’s five year journey as Klartraum sits comfortably outside the average Berlin artist’s party-after party-studio-party stencil, and it’s one that’s taken their production partnership and resultant Lucidflow label from promising beginnings to a firm part of the city’s house and techno culture in a short few years. Brushing tired PR cliches about individuality and non-conformance aside, the pair do not sit within the German city’s usual electronic sphere, happily wearing spiritual influences on their musical sleeves, and translating that freedom into live performances and studio work that break the shackles of method and structure. The live feel of their tracks reflects their construction, and it’s brought them success not just on Lucidflow, where their debut long-player Evolution surfaced in 2011, but also on heralded labels such as Soma, Vitalik and Darkroom Dubs. Their follow-up, Secret Moon, is an extension of this evolution, expanded with the freedom the format amply grants.
Musically, there’s a willingness to embrace this from the start, but not in a way that feels forced, however many times producers have tried to purposely depart from their dancefloor roots. Berlin Intro’s playful riff on the opening of the door (to the studio? to consciousness?) launches into Something Wrong, a downtempo, breaky cut that seemingly eases the listener into the ten tracks, but not without spiky moments that seperate from idenitik ‘chilled out’ album tracks. Secret Moon follows, arguably the album’s standout track, building on atmospherics and mood, and balancing light and dark – the warm pads intertwining with darkened stabs – like so much of their best work previously, taking the listener on a musical trip instead of simply putting four-four beats and melody together, one after another.
Over the ten tracks, there are enough changes of pace to break up any defined rhythm, but the thread of the album doesn’t suffer from this, in fact it simply revolves around it, injecting the swinging semi-funk of Universe ahead of Kazantrip’s spooky techno, but never losing its ‘feel’, the liberty that inhabits each track, bringing the two artists’ own characters into the very notes themselves. There’s subtle use of spoken vox, both in the sublime Sell Your Soul, the ethereal Map Of Truth, and earlier in Something Wrong, creating sonic palettes that sit outside the normal house and techno template, just as the chanting of Amazonas-Santiago blends the electronic with the traditional. Moments of beauty exist throughout the entire album, and as a whole it’s both an advert for Klartraum’s undoubted talents and their philosophy, one that seems set for a long and productive future.
Mind Your Head by Re.You – Mobilee
Mobilee ushers in the summer days (yes, they’re really here) with yet another in its seemingly inexhaustible line of Berlin artists. At a time when it’ll be warming up for its infamous off-Sonar parties, we get an EP of two woozy house cuts from Re.You. Marius Maier has already produced memorable work on his home imprint, Teifschwarz’s Souvenir, and Hell’s International Deejay Gigolos, so it should be obvious that with such exacting ears pleased, Mobilee would be happy to welcome him to their imprint for their 93rd single release. What we find is a pair of four-four tracks that head to the dancefloor, sit down in the middle and refuse to move all night.
Mind Your Head may begin in fairly regulation mood, handclaps and percs combining into a solid groove, but once the first drop hits and the vocal swirls in a chorus of multi-note words, things begin to head sideways. Daniel White’s vox is twisted and collapsed, nodding to dOP’s off-kilter style, and here it’s employed over a ringing, ravey synth and fx that will lead to many a moment of ecstasy this summer. On the flip, Junction goes straight up percussive, with toms providing the early meat on the bone before a filtered vocal slowly emerges from the mist and into the light. Late-breaking stabs and reverb add colour, but the energy is carried by the track’s weighty foundations. Find a roof, and dance on it, preferably to this.