Telonius: Interface

What stands out most about Jonas Imbery's debut Telonius album Interface? Its irreverence and sense of fun—qualities that make the ten-song set by the German DJ-and-producer and Gomma co-founder (with Mathias “ Munk ” Modica) all the more appealing. Drawing upon fifteen years of diverse musical experience (including movie soundtrack work, producing the solo album of Franz Ferdinand guitarist Nick McCarthy, and performing live with the Symphonie Orchester des Bayrischen Rundfunk), Imbery presents a forty-two-minute collection of sexy house tracks that require little effort to warm up to.

Adding considerably to the project are the numerous vocal turns, all of which give the album personality, and the songs show Imbery to be no slouch in the melody department either. The album's grooving vibe is established by the opening scene-setter, “Now,” a funky disco-inflected house tune whose boogie Imbery sprinkles with horns and strings. Even more infectious is “Old Toy,” an irrepressibly effervescent bit of soulful house elevated by the vocal presence of Kokutekeleza Musebeni and a bass-powered, stutter-funk pulse. “Swimsuit” likewise receives a strong boost from the vocalizing of Faberyayo (of Dutch band LeLe), though its main appeal is the body-shaking backdrop Imbery fashions with some help from Paul Prem, who contributes bass and guitar to the song. Imbery does a fabulous job simulating a well-oiled funk outfit in “Control,” and any question as to why he titled the song “Your Dog Will Love It” is answered once the song's high-pitched melodies kick in.

The album's at its cheekiest during “Last Night (Faced Version),” when Samuel Falson and Elizabeth Wight indulge in some hilarious, sexually charged banter (he: “‘Scuse me, baby, I don't mean to be crass / But it's been a long day, I need a piece of ass”; she: “Baby, yes I'm coming, in a hurry / Put your fingers on me”), with Falson's chorus line “So let's make love tonight” the veritable cherry on top. Imbery does mix things up stylistically (the tempo slows for the seductive dreampop of “I Make You Man,” for example), but the moments one'll take way from the album most are those of the light-hearted and free-spirited kind. On a final note, it's ironic that Imbery had the features erased from the cover portrait when this Telonius set is anything but faceless.

October 2013