The a-side of this magical record is Before, the b-side Getting Up. Read the title again. See what he's done there? Clever huh?
Rest assured, the music is just as cheekily unexpected and rewarding - so much so that despite this having been kicking around for a few weeks we felt it deserved a review.
Andreas "Audio" Werner is one of the seemingly endless array of German artists taking the basics of house and techno and reworking them into fanciful, danceable, dazzlingly inventive new styles. He's only been producing for three years, but has already racked up a sting of releases for Perlon, Trapez and his own Hartchef imprint. Now, on behalf of Hello?Repeat he delivers what might just be the most loveable slice of "whatchacallit ?" minimal / deephouse / electronica I've heard all year.
Take Before - it sounds almost nothing like what a dance record should. There are no big obvious breaks, no "put your hands up now, kids" moments, no earth-shaking basslines just music. What else would it be, right? Well, you'd be surprised how blandly formulaic your 12 minute synth epics will sound after listening to this little gem. A shimmying bassline gurgles along while parping brass stutters like someone trying to catch their breath. A melange of curious sound effects streak past your ears: the sound of rusty hinges creaking open, the squeak of robotic mice skittering across an aluminium floor. Lost in the sonic background is a hint of a voice, trying to be heard over the metallic twinkle of chimes while live drums and the juicy twang of a double bass fill the space till it threatens to overspill your ears and burrow into your central nervous system.
Getting Up effortlessly matches the standard set by Before and, redolent of swinging gin joints and illicit jazz bars, it would sound right at home on Henrik Schwarz's recent masterful mix Live. A slower, almost lazy sounding cut, Getting Up slouches along like Holden Caulfield in a smoking jacket. This is surly sensuality at its finest with a steady heartbeat of pastry brush drums flicking at the mellow piano chords as they snake indifferently past on their journey to the other side of your mind. You probably wouldn't want to drop this record in a club, but if you were playing an after-party in a haunted cabaret venue somewhere in old East Berlin it would be just the ticket.Quite apart from its undeniable musical superiority, Getting Up After The Day Before appears to be part of a quite laudable trend for electronic producers to get stuck into a challenging array of sounds which may or may not have anything to do with 303s and 909s. While those machines and their ilk will always be the cornerstone of dance music it is great fun to see what wonderful concoctions can be brewed up by playing around with other ingredients.