Albrecht Kunze, Testarchiv
Released: June 1999 (Germany)
Disko B, thhe German label that released this fascinating album, is making a name for itself in the electronic music world. Their music is noteworthy for its willingness to take risks, to challenge traditional and building block structures, and otherwise fiddle about with weirdness. Testarchiv, though in no way like I-F's The Man from P.A.C.K., nevertheless follows his labelmate down the path of the peculiar. However, where I-F went to outerspace for inspiration, Kunze heads straight to the world of techno-jazz fusion. There have been a number of drum and bass albums that have ventured into the jazz arena (Roni Size, John B, 4 Hero). However, in all of these fusion albums--even the good ones--there is a tendency to wallow in self-indulgence. Luckily, Kunze stays far from the indulgence trap. If anything, this album can be considered a cross between blue and white: a fusion of minimalism and jazz. This is because the songs routinely work from the "less is more" school and because the songs themselves are generally brief, smart, and engaging. The opening track, "Rise," takes a simple 909 beat and mixes it with an ominous guitar-synth melody that is straight out of a good spy flick soundtrack; "Drowned Under Influence," meanwhile, takes ambient atmospherics and adds a touch of CGD fireworks around the edges. Other notable songs include "The Rooftop Session," which makes great use of CGD static and silence, and "Stuntstream," which is, quite literally, a traditional jazz drum solo with a little traditional keyboard thrown in. Great, heady stuff.
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