Wechsel Garland: Easy
Karaoke Kalk

Wechsel Garland's Easy conjures the hazy feel of a sleepy afternoon spent lolling by the seaside soaking up humid atmosphere. Admittedly, it's hard to reconcile the album's Bossa Nova, Tropicália, and lounge-pop styles with Jörg Follert's reputation as a German 'electronic' artist. That dimension is almost entirely absent here, with the instrumental emphasis instead on acoustic guitars, strings, mouth organs, clavinets, and glockenspiels. Also different is the greater emphasis on vocals, with Follert's slightly-accented voice singing in English. His breezy, wistful songs appear simple yet are actually sophisticated constructions filled with tiny but well-placed details: hear, for example, how casually disparate melodic lines intersect in “Don't Look Now” and how Follert weaves a clip-clop rhythm, acoustic picking, strings, and a little match-strike accent into a compelling whole. “Waves” resembles the kind of song one might hear float down from a beachfront cabin, while “White Circle” evokes the equatorial zone too, especially when strings dance over a reggae guitar line. Follert's guests include Argentinean artist Gustavo Cerati on guitar and bass plus Natalie Beridze (aka tba), who adds her faint whisper to “Walker,” and Yvonne Cornelius (aka Niobe), who duets with Follert on the sundrenched “Swim.” Though most songs are brief vignettes, a pretty, long-form instrumental like “Get Over It” makes a strong impression when its rich arrangement cultivates a mood of inviting languor.

March 2006