Digitalism - DJ-Kicks
Mon 30th Jul, 2012 Music Reviewsin
I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for German duo Digitalism. Made up of Jens Moelle and Ismail Tüfekçi, their debut album Idealism was one of the first CDs I ever reviewed, and five years later, I stand by my claim then that it was one of the best albums of the year. Their sophomore release, I Love You Dude was generally considered to be a disappointment, so it was with interest that I heard they’d been asked to put together the latest instalment in the DJ-Kicks series.
Launched in 1995 on the general premise of being targeted to a home listening audience, this is 43 in the series, and on the back of the widely acclaimed Maya Jane Coles offering, the Germans had their work cut out for them.
They launch right into it, and do so with authority. Engaging you immediately, the interesting conversational soundtrack throws us into the heavy electro sound of Menace from Axel Le Baron and Kurbatov, before we are lofted into the melodic Travellers from The Surrender. Long drawn out uplifting tones layered over each other nicely, make for an early tasty treat, and it’s one of the standout tunes on the release. We then go back to electro in 83 from Hey Today! then to the Brit-pop but French produced Brain Leech from Alex Gopher, a fully vocalised pop number.
Summer from Twr72 is just plain house and even on the back of repeated listens, I couldn’t quite understand what this song was trying to do. It’s fast paced and edgy, but is the weak point of the release; you just want to get to the end. Then again, maybe that was the plan, because once you get there, you’re met by a new tune from none other than Digitalism .
Produced exclusively for this mix, Falling packs the same punch that came with their 2007 tune Pogo. Loaded with energy, it will appeal massively to fans of the German duo, even if the hook towards the end sounds ridiculously like a Daft Punk tune (I’ll let you decide which tune in particular). Nevertheless, it kicks off a trio of tunes that Digitalism have either produced or remixed, and of a total of eight on the entire release. The lads may not have released a new album, but they’ve clearly been busy.
Their rework of Alicudi from Gai Barone is brilliant; a slow burning, hands in the air monster and my pick of the album, and works well as a foil to the darker and aptly name Simply Dead : electro heavy, very glitchy and almost SebastiAn-esque in its framing.
We then hit another bump, limping along through the weakest part of the album before we are once again thrown into the Digitalism deep end. A New Drug is an electro heavy, bass thumping boomer with bucket loads of the glitchy stuff, while Silenz has more uplifting tones but is vintage Digitalism. Followed with the 2010 tune Kazane from Hiroki Esashika then Second Lives from Vitalic – we are absolutely charging, and your house party has suddenly found another kick. Digitalism throw us their So Totally Good and then their epic crowd pleasing and festival loving remix of Sail Away from The Rapture.
If you were in fact listening to this at home with your mates – at this point, half your mates would put their hands up in awesomeness. The other would be asking WTF?. Either way, it’s the peak time tune of the ‘set’ and is, if nothing else, lots of fun, and consistent with the rest of the duo’s tracks on this release.
Unfortunately, it all tapers off rather quickly towards the end, and by the time you hit the closing track The Pictures from once again, yes, Digitalism – it provides a disappointing and unfortunate finish to what is otherwise, in parts at least, a pretty damn good release. Last track aside, their own productions and remixes on the compilation are strong, and augur well for their new album. They will appeal hugely to fans of the duo, and on the whole, as a DJ-Kicks release, it is solid without necessarily being amazing.
It’s very much peaks and troughs, and certainly makes me more inclined to want to see them live than in DJ mode. Either way, they’re back in form and making some good music. That in itself has got to be good news for Digitalism fans, this one included.