Sylvie Marks & HAL9000: Krazeee
Bpitch Control

Sylvie Marks and HAL9000 bring more than a decade of experience to their Krazeee debut, with much of that time spent DJing and producing remixes. Maybe that explains why so many of the disc's thirteen songs sound like extended club mixes and why the per-song average weighs in at just under six minutes; put simply, the collection's seventy-six minute running time is generous but wearying. Had the duo more wisely shaved a couple of minutes from each track, the album would be a more digestible fifty-two minutes of what Marks calls “electronic party music.”

That's the primary weakness of this otherwise strong outing, although a few less crippling lapses surface along the way. Awkward beats make “Die Blume” stumble, “Wir Sterne” is marred by headache-inducing layers of noise, and “My Computer Eats An Acid Trip” is a silly idea that should have remained in the studio; filled with all manner of trippy noise (bleeping synths and stuttering voice fragments), it's also far too long at over seven minutes (including it as a 2-minute interlude might have been wiser).

That leaves, though, ten quality electro-synthpop exercises, with “Blütenspass” an opening peak. The duo here creates an unusual bluegrass-electro-disco groove and then adds plinkety-plunk melodies and Marks' breathy German vocals. The addition of vibes in particular is an imaginative touch, the kind of gesture which distinguishes other songs too (the dramatic drum flourishes in “Kiss Me” a case in point). There's also robotic techno (“Jupitersex”), dreamy trip-hop (“Unreachable”), and electro-techno (“Baby I'm Electric,” “Krazeee”), plus thumping beats that swing in “Cowboy.” “Juno” encapsulates the album's strengths and weaknesses: buoyed by whistling synths and disco bass lines, this appealing slice of electro-disco also includes an unnecessary middle section of meandering noise. As with Krazeee in general, excising the excess would only make the material stronger.

December 2004