Supermayer: Save The World

Well, Supermayer may not quite save the world but Michael Mayer and Aksel Schaufler (aka Superpitcher) certainly do dash expectations, especially for listeners anticipating an album filled with “Tomorrow”-“Lovefood” fusions. In fact, the album's almost wholly free of Kompakt's classic techno sound, as Mayer and Schaufler eschew clubby dance tracks for a decidedly more eclectic, off-kilter pop sound. And when they do gravitate towards that classic dance style in the ten-minute “Two of Us,” they twist the tune's thrumming grooves inside out by first coating it in glockenspiels and sleigh bells and then transforming it into a psychedelic space epic whose controls are definitely set for the heart of the sun. Not surprisingly, longer tracks (like “Two of Us”) that are closest in spirit to Kompakt's standard sound fare best. Though it's the kind of stuff the duo can do with their eyes shut, “Saturndays” gives the ravers what they want: a darkly plodding, two-chord groove illuminated by iridescent synth themes and washes, while hi-hat triplets and gulping bass lines spirit “Please Sunshine” away on a scenic clip-hop gallop.

While the duo's explorative enthusiasm and champion their joie de vivre deserve applause, Save The World doesn't find them playing to their strengths often enough. In place of Superpitcher's normally seductive singing, we get gravelly growls in “Planet of the Sick” and creepiness (“Breaking people, Rocking people, Sucking people…) in the quirky synth-pop of “Us and Them.” “The Art of Letting Go” promises much, especially when it includes a fabulous bass hook—three ascending parts capped by an oscillating riff—but the song's tasty pop-funk mix suffers when the hook is driven into the ground. And some of the hour-long album's given over to bridging interludes of minor consequence (the silly prelude “Hey!,” “Superbrain Transmission,” “For Luzie,” “Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying,” “Psychoprogs Attack!”). While we're all for artistic evolution, we'd trade the sluggish soul-jazz of “Cocktails for Two” or the sing-song prog-pop of “The Lonesome King” for another “Tomorrow” any day.

November 2007