Me Raabenstein: Raabenstein_esk

Raabenstein_esk , Me (Martin Eugen) Raabenstein's first solo album release under his proper name, is fifty-seven minutes of—by his own admission—mutilated electronics and broken beats. More specifically, the Nonine head specializes in a squiggly brand of electronic-jazz-funk fusion where clavinets, synthesizers, and guitars swim. A whiff of decadence rises off of Raabenstein's New Orleans-meets-Berlin future-funk, and the album's material exudes a bit of Miles's ‘70s voodoo-jazz vibe too. The German producer's joined by a small party of guests (e.g., trombonist Uwe Langer, Bad Seeds' drummer Thomas Wydler), but the one most prominently featured is “vocalist” Mark Gisbourne who growls surreal and impressionistic lyrics (penned by Raabenstein) on a handful of the tracks—think Jeremy Irons at his most lascivious. In “Gutterface,” Gisbourne delivers his vocals in a noir-like drawl against a wiry, breakbeat-driven electro-funk backdrop, and adopts a raconteur role in “One For Sunken Eyes” (subtly referencing Lewis Carroll in the lines “The king of hearts, the king of hearts / All on a summer's day”) and “Rain Over Devon” (“The wise old owl lived in an oak / The more she saw the less she spoke…”). In “Carpetbagger Part I & II,” Gisbourne's deep voice (“Put on your caps and say your prayers / Sandman comes...”) is ultimately trumped by the synth-bleeding broil churning underneath, while Raabenstein elsewhere stirs viral cauldrons of black oil. In “Island Patois,” vibes add a little bit of jazz to the tune's twitchy electronic funk, while “Chimps In Space Part I & II” references fusion in its mix of piano, electronic noodling, and low-riding groove. At times ~scape-like in character, Raabenstein_esk's music might be thought of as similar to a more uptempo and slightly less dub-oriented System.

July 2009