Laub: Deinetwegen
AGF Producktion

Laub fans may be shocked to discover how radically different in style the group's fifth studio album, Deinetwegen, is from its last, Filesharing. And so it should be, given the passage of time and most critically the adventurous path ‘poemproducer' Antye Greie has trod since its 2002 release. While Laub partner Jotka (Jürgen Kühn) has maintained a comparatively low profile in the interim, AGF has issued numerous albums and participated in multiple projects (AGF/Delay, AGF.3 + SUE.C, The Dolls, Lappetites). Yes, Deinetwegen is Laub's ‘blues' album, a trippy ‘post-techno' 21 st -century take on the genre that is audacious and creatively rich. The Berlin-based duo captures the form's requisite earthiness without betraying Laub's own digital production methodologies in the process, resulting in a sincere homage refracted by their particular (white, European) sensibilities, as opposed to a lame imitation of John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. Wisely, too, Antye Greie stays true to her idiosyncratic sprechgesang style (if perhaps investing it with more emotion than before) and doesn't embarrass herself by aping the gravelly wail of American blues singers. The material remains electronic in construction and style but Laub bleeds large swathes of electric guitar all over the album's ten tracks. The feel is organic and loose, with sputtering synth flourishes and electronic rhythms intermingling with the tremulous shudder and snarl of the guitar while AGF's German whispers haunt the material like a ghost. The title song is most recognizably in the Laub tradition but the group elsewhere boldly extends the stylistic range, juxtaposing a ballad like “Schnee” with the funkier “Analog,” and propelling “Tofu” with locomotive rhythms; only “Ruf” flirts with excess by literalizing the collision between a harmonica's bluesy wail and restless electronic fluctuations. All told, though, the oft- intoxicating Deinetwegen exemplifies the kind of confidence and conviction in explorative music-making commonly heard in Björk's music.

June 2007