Static: Re: Talking About Memories
City Centre Offices

On Re: Talking About Memories, his third Static album on City Centre Offices, Hanno Leichtmann perpetuates the format of 2002's Eject Your Mind and 2003's Flavour Has No Name: vocal and instrumental tracks alternate, and guests like Ronald Lippock (Tarwater, To Rococo Rot), Martin Siewert (Trapist), and Christof Kurzmann make indelible contributions to selected songs. As intimated by the title, the album courts a nostalgic ambiance with 'forgotten' melodies resurrected through the combination of Siewert's delicate guitar and pedal steel playing, Lippock's and Kurzmann's vocals, electronics, and classical samples. The mood is generally restrained, at times placid, the songs pretty electronic pop instrumentals and vocal pieces. Only with the fifth song (“Shift, Smash, Surge, Swell”) does the album pick up steam, a mid-tempo foray into propulsive, jazzy electronica with a smeary trumpet solo leading the charge.

The better tunes appear during the album's first half. Leichtmann's collab with Lippok produces dreamy electronic pop though, as one might expect, his vocals push “Return of She” into Tarwater territory. The song's languorous vibe is deepened by Siewert's pedal steel and distinguished by harp swirls that emerge during its second half. The recording includes Leichtmann's first cover, a gentle take on The Assembly's early ‘80's hit “Never Never,” written by Vince Clarke and sung by Christof Kurzmann in his idiosyncratic croak. The generally peaceful and melancholy instrumentals are coloured by burbling electronic textures, loping beats, and moogs sputtering soft melodies. Grand piano and vibes lend elegance to the languid breeze of “Sync & Sake” while “One After 808” oozes a melancholia that's reminiscent of B. Fleischmann.

Re: Talking About Memories is neither overly ambitious or (by design) future-oriented. The presumed goal—straightforward, quality electronic pop—is instead modest with the album gravitating even more towards conventional song styling than before (“Point of Hope” is as close to acoustic pop as Leichtmann's music has yet come, with even Kurzmann reining in the eccentricity). Notwithstanding the fact that some listeners may find the album too mellow, one other caveat bears noting: given that Lippock and Kurzmann have both appeared on his past Static albums, it's a shame Leichtmann didn't also include a female vocal presence (Flavour Has No Name, for example, features memorable contributions from Justine Electra and Valerie Trebeljhar) to enliven the mix.

November 2005