What a journey the making of this album has been. Having started the process of recording tracks and writing songs for an album 10 years ago, now in 2010, the new artist album from Sander Kleinenberg is finally ready and set for release this November.
Of course, this album hasn't actually been a 10-year project, more the fact that it was a decade ago that Sander sat down and started planning and talking about recording a long-player. At that time My Lexicon established him globally as a top-level producer and is still widely regarded as one of the finest progressive house records ever made. Of course, following the release and worldwide attention, it was natural to start planning an album.
The only thing was that 'worldwide attention' meant his schedule changed massively and with offers coming in from all angles he strapped himself onto his metaphorical surfboard and rode the wave. In fact since 2001, Sander has released a comp every year, mainly through his strong connection with Renaissance throughout most of the noughties. He also went on to launch his own label Little Mountain Recordings, remix a whole host of artists including Justin Timberlake, N.E.R.D., Annie Lennox, The Eurythmics, Sasha, and Janet Jackson, single-handedly pioneer DVJing (live DJing with visuals + music) and become one of the biggest DJs on the planet through his This Is brand that's now synonymous with clubbing on Ibiza, in Amsterdam, London, LA, and wherenot.
But all the while he was creating and saving tracks, ideas and concepts for an artist album, waiting for the right time to properly record and release the material that he felt best represented him. Although that in-fact proved to be another hurdle as Sander's influences and tastes are so varied, but his reputation was formed from his high-energy, peak-time house/techno DJ sets - what would a Sander Kleinenberg artist album even sound like? You may be surprised...
"I'm sure the listener will find the ambivalence between the DJ in me trying to make a soundtrack for Saturday night and the writer in me trying to write a substantial song with more depth to it."Sander explains, "The internal battle bothered me for a long time and it's obvious that I've been struggling to chose sides. As a matter of fact I'm still not sure but simply had to move forward. I noticeably tried to marry the two on this album and in my humble opinion succeeded, which resulted in this exciting '5K' studio album on which I've been working for the past year and a half. It's been great working with such a variety of extremely talented people in order to make this happen."
Those "extremely talented people" include British jazz singer/songwriter Jamie Cullum, an artist whose involvement in Sander's album may well turn some heads. In fact, it represents exactly what Sander wanted to achieve with his LP and in-turn Jamie admits "I've watched Sander for many years from the dancefloor as a fan, so it was an absolute dream come true to work with him! He's an amazing producer to work with."
Across 5K you not only get a true account of all the sounds that are currently exciting Sander, but you get all the experience and wisdom that a 20-year DJ career has brought, This really Is Sander Kleinenberg. Starting with a nod towards his first love of De La Soul, Jungle Brothers and A Tribe Called Quest, This Love featuring Ace Reign opens the album in style with a high-energy rap of the highest quality. Flowing smoothly into Remember When (the Jamie Cullem single) and then into Follow Me, Sander quickly sets his stool out that this is not an album consisting of 10 instrumental dancefloor bangers, in fact, despite it's very danceable sound it's quite the opposite, packed full of character and radio-appeal.
Another point worth noting is the flow that Sander's achieved on 5K, deliberately choosing not to use gaps between each track, the album (although not seamlessly beat matched) builds in a way not too dissimilar to a DJ set. With the opening three tracks sucking you in, Sander then drops The Healer - a straight up four to the floor banger - into The Journey which he co-produced with Kraak & Smaak and features the phenomenal Ursula Rucker - a classic Moroder-like analogue-synth journey - and then the huge summer club anthem M.A.N.I.A.C. - the biggest dancefloor-focused track on the album.
From there Sander diversifies again, drawing on his love of epic rock, Closer featuring Neil Ormandy could easily be mistaken for U2 or The Killers. Followed by Sander's "attempt at being French", the 80's-inspired vocodered R.Y.A.N.L. (Rock you all night long) and then into Disko Riot ft Jon Fugler, which is, in Sander's own words "a techno protest song written strongly to stand up against what the world of money has done to us all - how bankers obsessed with wealth have fucked us all over... and still do."
Chemically featuring Ryan Starr is strongly influenced by The Prodigy, with rave breaks providing the backdrop to Ryan's perfectly suited vocals - a real standout on the album. With the brilliant Nathan 'Flutebox' Lee, providing his services for an almost dubstep reprise with This Love, the album then draws to a close with Wish I Said featuring Miss Montreal - a deeply personally song dedicated to Sander's mother and all the things he wanted to say to her before she passed away.
It's an emotional end to a very personal album. An album that's been developed and worked on for a lot longer than most, we only hope that the follow up is not too far in the future. You already knew Sander Kleinenberg the DJ, you now know Sander Kleinenberg the artist.
The album was co-produced with Josh Gabriel, has guest appearances by Dennis and Dinand from Kane, a Metropole Orchestra string quartet, was mixed by Sander and Steve 'Dub' Jones (Chemical Borthers, Unkle & Audio Bullys, a.o.) at Flowriders studio in Amsterdam,...and is now a fact.