Robag Wruhme: Olgamikks

It's fitting that Olgamikks, the mix CD crafted by the German DJ-producer Robag Wruhme (aka Gabor Schablitzki and as a one-time Wighnomy Brothers member) for the fifteenth edition of the annual Saxonia, German Nachtdigital festival, opens with “The White Flash” by Modeselektor and featuring a typically haunting vocal by Thom Yorke. Anything but a raver, the brooding tune's sinuous vocal melodies and twilight moodscaping work their magic slowly and surreptitiously on the listener, and it's a template Wruhme applies to the mix as a whole. He's a fitting choice for Olgamikks (the title a reference to Bungalowdorf Olganitz where Nachtdigital takes place), too, given that he's appeared at the festival every summer since 2003.

Admittedly, none of the other thirteen tunes on the disc is quite as memorable as the opener (though Kollektiv Turmstrasse's “Heimat,” with its heavenly harp strums, silken synths, and steamy house groove, comes close), but Wruhme appears more interested in creating a restrained, late-night vibe than anything raucous and hell-raising (a feel perhaps most clearly captured by the warm glow of Audision's “Yellow Sunset”). Tracks flow together seamlessly, their transitions smoothed over by his guiding hand. At times, a dubby quality seeps into the mix (such as during Fenin's “None Of Them”), but at no time do such shifts offset the metronomic flow of the locomotive micro-house pulse that persists throughout. Other high points include: “No Turning Back,” whose sparkling thrust Gui Boratto enhances with a hypnotic vocal line; Dntel's “Jitters,” six swooning minutes of quietly melodious radiance from Jimmy Tamborello; and “The Greasy,” an exercise in wonky stutter-funk from Claude Vonstroke. Rather than simply slap a disparate set of tunes together, Wruhme personalizes the mix by subtly remixing or reworking all of the artists' tracks for the hour-long set, plus includes two new exclusives (“Kuttenrolch” and the quasi-symphonic set closer “Pokatoll”), each of whose twilight character matches the mix as a whole.

October 2012