Losoul: Getting Even

Thankfully, Peter Kremeier (aka Losoul) understands that a random gathering of dance tracks does not an album make, and so gives weighty consideration to Getting Even's sequencing and its contrasts to ensure it's heard as a listening experience beyond all else. That's not to suggest that the album's fundamental dance dimension is secondary or incidental—it clearly isn't—so much as it suggests that Kremeier seeks the perfect balance between danceability and listenability.

Consider the opening trio of songs as evidence. “Railrude,” artfully grounded by minimal house rhythms and electro bass swoops and rumbles, breezily chugs along without incident for the better part of its eight minutes until Losoul interrupts the flow with a sudden bass interjection and two high-pitched sine tones. Using the most minimal of means, he reconfigures the track's direction with marvelous subtlety, a moment that distills Losoul's modus operandi into a single gesture. The next song (“Hit In Home Position”) oozes a shimmying groove that is if anything even more irresistible, and again minimal elements—high-pitched string flickers and a simple descending bass motif—define its essence. These house treks come to an abrupt (if momentary) halt with “Warriors (Rock),” a lurching shuffle with abrasive guitar stabs featuring Malte's goth-flavoured vocal. By the third song's end, Kremeier's commitment to stylistic contrast and nuanced handling of material is thoroughly established and will carry on in like manner for the remainder.

Along the way, there's Cologne techno (Malte's German vocal paired with propulsive beats and burbling synths in “You Know”), acid-tinged goosestep (the relentless “Brain Of Glass”), and even musique-concrete (the lumbering rhythm in “Fallout Party” constructed from machine hammerings, voice hiccups, and bell clangings). As “Tango Acido” proves, however, Losoul never strays too far from his deep club roots. Kremeier starts the song in minimal disco mode and then gradually layers melodic sprinkles, subterranean bass lines that writhe like predatory snakes, and even vibes for 'natural' colour. And, just to make sure the principle isn't forgotten, he reiterates the 'album' concept near the end by following the prototypical microhouse of the penultimate “Matchbox” with “A Blood Sample,” a dreamy ballad showcase for Miss Anesthetic's near-whispered vocal.

Of course, Losoul isn't the first musician to bring artistry and nuance to house music. On Playhouse alone, recent albums by Ricardo Villalobos and Thomas Melchior evidenced similar qualities. What separates Getting Even from Alcachofa and The Meaning, though, is its broader stylistic range, with Kremeier drawing on techno, microhouse, acid, disco, and funk; what it shares with those releases is a finely calibrated sensitivity to the power of subtlety.

October 2004