May 24, 2007

Trentemoller feat. DJ Tom and Vildtand - An Evening With Bobi Bros

200712"DubMinimal/Deep

The word antipodes was recurred in descriptions justifying the quality of Trentemoller’s productions after the hype generated by “Polar Shift”. Hype that appeared to come to dust here, in the Antipodes (Australia), after a notoriously bad live show that showed beyond all reasonable doubt that “minimal” was totally at odds with itself, generating a hype-based following who neither understood nor liked the music they nonetheless deigned to dance to. Why? In Melbourne, it’s hard to discount the pervasive effects of five years of progressive dishwater on spongy young minds – here was a producer that re-packaged the “antipodes” of prog in a crispy, beautifully designed form. But it’s still dishwater if you ask me – the much loved Last Resort album is conspicuous both for its polished hi-fi sound design and its lack of taste. It’s not bad taste, no, just tasteless, inert – but for the light taint of detergent. Offensively inoffensive. Okay, so now you get both the “truth” of Trentemoller and this reviewers own prejudices (or at least one of the two). What of the music?

Well, I do concede this is a nice EP, actually. Again, maybe I only think so because of my bias in favour of all things deep and dubby, but both these tracks represent two ways into the groove via thoughtful, interesting arrangements filled with emotion and even… antipodes!

The A-side (with DJ T.O.M) opens on a keyboard line with something of the atmospherics of The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm”, adding a scratch-textured loop for a momentary nod to Jan Jelinek before the signature crispy compressed kick-snare sets to work. The main melodic refrain from the keyboard part goes solo in the third minute, unfolding as the groove marks time and breaking apart with occasional outbursts of delay. I wonder if I can still pick up the remnants of the washing up? No, not here. Trentemoller’s collaboration seems to have moderated and mellowed the fellow, in a good way.

The B harks back to early MRI and the halcyon days of Force Tracks, which can’t be a bad thing – there’s even a very white female vocal on hand to lend curves to the sound planes. (Are we due for a dub-house revival?) But then there’s those lyrics – honestly, as a DJ, I couldn’t stand behind the decks with my best “serious DJ” mien while “You are ecstasy/you are sex” came oohing and ahhing out of an otherwise well put together track. Ah, my tainted palette. Argh, bubbles, bitterness – dishwater! How could you? Why did you? CD-users and edit-freaks offer themselves the possibility of truncating this taste lapse, but for me and others who play the track as it lays, this renders a whole side un-usable…unless you like the lyrics? Given that I was almost alone in my assessment of Last Resort, you’ll probably find a lot to love here.

Kickin Records / KICK 154
[Listen]
[Peter Chambers]


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