Elektronische Musik - Interkontinental 5
ay what you will, but Riley Reinhold is a company man: since his 2002 Friends mix for Kompakt, Reinhold has crafted five mixes that contain only tracks from the family of labels he owns and operates. Like any good businessman, he knows that there are still fans of dance music out there that don’t buy vinyl—or need to be nudged in the right direction. Elektronische Musik - Interkontinental 5 is his first mix to showcase the Traum Schallplatten imprint—and the first of the Interkontinental series to come in mix CD form.
Perhaps it’s with good reason: it took nearly every ounce of Thomas Brinkmann’s creative verve to make 2004’s Tour De Traum into the mix that it was. The Traum label has always been the less dancefloor-ready parent compared to its hard-partying children Trapez and My Best Friend. But as last year’s Elektronische Musik - Interkontinental 4 proved quite handily, times have changed. Dominik Eulberg is now the label’s featured artist (although he’s nowhere to be seen here)—and there is heavy influx of new names making appearances that seem more dedicated to keeping people on the floor than sitting down in the chill-out room.
Lars Wickinger is one of those newbies. His track “Ghostrider” opens the mix proper in a funky tech-house style, replete with a cleansing bass hit that continually seeks dominance. Like most tracks found here it’s heavily melodic, reflecting the major (recent) difference between Traum and its children: the elder label’s work is much brighter. While not exactly dance pop, recent Traum hasn’t been shy about making sure that there’s a hook.
This attitude, while laudable in nearly every case, sometimes makes it tough to mix. Take Jesse Somfay’s “Faberge,” which is only able to come in because of an extended rhythmic intro and an abrupt mix into the equally as complex “Wasabi” from Kenny Leaven. It’s the best Reinhold could do with the material, no doubt, but still distracts. Elsewhere, however, the mixing is relatively flawless. As with each of his label-specific mixes, Reinhold seems almost to do better with the artificial constraints placed on the source material from which he can draw.
Or perhaps Traum’s material in the past year has just been that good? Certainly the work that the label has gotten in from hopeful future contributors. Florian Meindl, Linus Quick, Kenny Leaven, and Gabriel Kolger—all relative unknowns—each contribute tracks to the mix that sit comfortably next to work from Traum regulars such as Adam Kroll and Process.
Nathan Fake ends the mix with his formless and beatless “Numb Chance,” reveling in the same sorts of sounds that most Traum records utilize, but cutting out the four-four that normally supports them—it’s almost a throwback to the old Waki/Dinky/Detalles-era Traum. But for the rest of the hour, Triple R treats us to the glorious and ever-shifting sound of the new Traum. And what a compelling sound it is.