My Christmas gift to you, dear reader, will be a rundown of my three top techno artists. This will be helpful for lazy people, who are too LAZY to listen to rubbish before they find the good stuff. I’m being helpful, see? It’s because it’s Christmas, and Christmas is a time for helping others.
I begin with Alle Farben. I have been listening to his music for probably most of the past two years. And let me tell you, it is a joy. Especially for those of you that aren’t really into tech house (yet). Frans Zimmer is a synesthete, which means he perceives certain forms and concepts and associates them with different colours. That probably isn’t the best explanation, but you get the gist.
This is very much incorporated into his work, not only in his name (“All colours” – not some, thank you, ALL) but also in his colour-themed sets which can be found on SoundCloud. They go on for hours and are an excellent reflection of his work overall. This is good place to start and my personal favourites are the following:
Light Sky Blue
Shiny Leaf Red
There really are many more. And lots of shades of blue, if you’re into that. The nice thing about them is that they go through phases so often amalgamate lots of different music styles in one set. Basically it’s German techno efficiency at its best. There are slow, quiet piano intros, melodic vocals, more hardcore dance beats and electro swing elements which make them stretch from silly and trumpety to serious and intense. Prepare to prance!
A particularly exciting development in this kingdom of colour is the release of Synesthesia I think In Colours, Alle Farben’s first studio album which came out in May this year. I haven’t yet got to the bottom of why it’s not available on UK iTunes or Spotify but I think for those of you ugh-techno-is-too-hardcore Moaning Michaels then this album may well appeal. It is a real break from his earlier work and is far more collaborative and apt for performance live – Graham Candy, Lydmor and Sway Clarke II all feature on the album. I wasn’t convinced about it at first because I thought the dominance of the vocals made it all feel oddly indie-pops and not what I was expecting. But once I got over that I realised it is just really feel-good. Cliché! But it is. And who doesn’t want to feel good? It’s CHRISTMAS!
Stimming is second on my list of men who have made me love minimal techno, and necessary after all that hip-jiggling and arm-flailing. Stimming’s music is far more subdued, relaxing and reflective. Whenever he releases an album you can almost hear the stifling patience and concentration that has gone into producing it. It has been said that his album Liquorice was a response to relationship turmoil, which explains why I don’t find it enjoyable to listen to at all. Equally, one of the best nights out I ever had in Berlin was dancing to his music (from a different album!) at Ritter Butzke. It’s very difficult to put your finger on what exactly he is doing. He’s quite the enigma.
My favourite albums are Reflections (which is stunning) and the newest album Stimming and tracks which to my mind best express his talent are the following:
Song For Isabelle
Tel Aviv Calling
See Spotify for all.
While Reflections demonstrated the consistent intricacy and moody depth of his music, the characteristic kick-clap template helping it to be club-appropriate, his latest album feels like we are somewhere else. The familiar cry of seagulls and the sound of clinking cutlery are set alongside piano and bizarre vocals which makes it sound more experimental on the whole. It’s sort of bleak, sublime, a bit melancholy. Stimming has created a sound which is absolutely his own. I strongly recommend.
Einmusik (Samuel Kindermann) is number three on my list (obviously). I remember being delirious with excitement when I first started listening to this and I would struggle to compare it with any other tech house. Light, sweeping chimes complement volcanic grumbling bass whilst twirling ripples are joined by bouncy, pumping beats. It’s magical! And the fusion of these elements reflects Kindermann’s attention to clarity and structure which makes his music characteristically clipped and organised, despite involving so many different creative components. So I wouldn’t call it minimal. It is dramatic and rich. Like a flaming Christmas pudding. (Ta daaa).
Do please listen to:
69 – De’medici Edit
Scarborough Feat. Ksva – Original Version
Oceans Bottom – Short Mix
Go to albums:
Most, if not all of his music is on Spotify. Hurrah! And here is the link to his label: http://einmusika.com (which is worth a look if only for the beautiful album artwork)
All of these lovely men are very active on Facebook, so do go ahead and give them a like. If you want.
Oh, and Merry bloomin’ Christmas!