Music journalism cliché #29545: the phrase "dancing about architecture".
Music journalism cliché #29546: the adjectives "hazy", "ethereal", "gauzy", "widescreen".
Music journalism cliché #29547: clunky gender specific synonyms for the word songwriter when said songwriter is female, such as "songbird", "chantreause", or *retch* "songstress".
Music journalism cliché #29548: synth music only ever occurs in "stabs" (I think Karl alerted me to this one).
Music journalism cliché #29549: "X sounds like Y on acid".
For more of these, check out a funny old post by Dave Donnelly, who has a good eye for such things.
#23 Roman Flügel -Fatty Folders
oooh luxurious colouredy folds. luxurious colouredy folds of tactile techno
What is techno music about? It's a weird question isn't it? But it's one that is brought to bear on dance music by people well versed in other types of music. It is hard to write about techno using the critical tools we apply to conventional rock and pop, where the songs tend to have internal narratives full of symbols and meanings to disseminate. The language of techno is just different. And that's why it can be so cringe-worthy when a journalist approaches techno with a confident spouty approach informed by the form and function of pop and rock; something I've read Karl write similarly about rap.
I did an interview with Apparat for AU magazine earlier last year, where he provided the following wonderful quote:
"But I realised that night that techno works not because of emotion or anything like that. Techno has a function. It is functional music that helps people escape. I mean if you think about it, it is a dark room full of people dancing and fucking strobe lights and repeating music. That is what it is for."
Apparat is halfway there. Techno is functional; that's the 4/4 beat. It is also sensory; that's everything on top of the 4/4 beat. Sure it can be emotional too (look at Kompakt's love of heart-tugging pop), but anything on top of the beat and the sensory experience is extraneous. Good techno does not need to have a message. And even when it has a vocal, the vocal is not necessarily communicating a message. It does not need to tell us anything about love, life, ageing or the human condition. It just needs to provide a stimulatory present moment. A place where words and language are replaced by feelings and sensations, forms and shapes. A portal for escape. A never ending present. A feeling.
Everything about Roman Flügel's Fatty Folders is about 'feeling'. This album is tactile. From the luxuriant floaty cover art, to the odd quivering connotations of the title, to the rich gluey tech house it contains, this is a record that murmurs 'touch', 'feel', like a moon-eyed ecstasy virgin tickling their own cheek in the corner of a nightclub.
Each track on 'Fatty Folders' has a distinct identity of its own, so clearly delineated from those either side of it that in listening I am reminded of a child's activity cube with different textured surfaces (this one is rough, this one is furry, etc). So different are the productions in style that you might expect the album to play disjointedly. For example, 'How to Spread Lies' is supremely smooth glassy house in the vein of John Roberts whereas 'Bahai Blues Bootcamp' flirts with British bass music overlaid with classic AFX acid. Yet, the record hangs together quite cohesively and this is probably because of an overarching sense of Flügel's sheer love of form. What each track has in common is precision crafting down to the microscopic, fabergé-egg level.
'Fatty Folders' isn't some sort of crazy masterpiece. It's just a beautifully rendered, sonically rich album that offers us nothing more or less than pure aural sensation. Take it on those terms, and you have one of the finest techno/house albums of 2011.
MP3: Roman Flügel-Deo