Freude am Tanzen

In which Freude am Tanzen celebrates its fiftieth release (and over twelve years of operation) with contributions from eleven artists associated with the Jena, Germany-based label. 5ZIG (which means fifty in German) covers multiple dance-related bases over the course of its dozen pieces, with everything from emotive mood settings to vocal-based dance tracks available for one's listening pleasure.

The album seems to grow in clubby intensity from one track to the next. Kadebostan's “Mother Cries” eases us into the collection with a twilight serenade whose gentle rhythmic flow is enhanced by the human-like moan of a lead cello. Rather punchier is Monkey Maffia's “Cruciate Ligament Dub,” which, as its title indicates, escorts its clangorous house chords and voice stutters through a rhythm bed of dubby character. Andreas Kriester and Daniel Müller-Sachs look in Detroit's direction for their Taron-Trekka outing “Noo Sun,” sprinkling tripped-out vocal effects over a well-lubricated, bass-thudding house groove in the process. Delhia de France wraps a sultry vocal over a slinky house pulse in Douglas Greed's velvety, late-night swinger “Back Room Deal,” while Fabian Reichelt does much the same during the jacking tech-house of Marek Hemmann's “Pictures.” The inclusion of balafon playing (by Friedmann Ziepert) adds a surprising twist to the low-end thrust of Krause Duo's (Wendelin Weissbach) “Drunkie Skunkie.” Kadebostan returns for an even more arresting second piece, “Mon Petit Soleil d'Algérie,”  which finds a muted trumpeter soloing like a matador flashing a flag in front of a barrelhouse, drum-powered orchestral score before moving into exotic climes via sinuous melodic turns and a melismatic vocal lamentation. Probably the album's most urgent cut is Robag Wruhme's (Gabor Schablitzki) “Haftbolle,” which strafes a frenetically forceful rhythm with bullet fire and other percussive madness. Armed with bass as thick as molasses, Juno6 (Stefan Schultz) contributes lead-footed techno pulverizer called “Guununk,” after which the disc ends with a brooding ambient excursion from No Accident in Paradise (“Exit9”) that provides a welcome change-up from the beat-based emphasis preceding it.

Though some degree of cohesiveness is sacrificed when variety is so much the album's dominating theme, strong cuts nevertheless abound, making 5ZIG an easy album to recommend. It's hardly groundbreaking or revolutionary but still good enough.

April 2011