Caleb Burhans
Causa Sui's Euporie Tide
Mary Halvorson

Atiq & EnK
Simon Bainton
Caleb Burhans
Aisha Burns
Causa Sui
Current Value
Marcel Dettmann
Federico Durand
Benjamin Finger
Free Babyronia
M. Geddes Gengras
Ghost Station
The Green Kingdom
The Green Man
Mary Halvorson Septet
Camilla Hannan
Marek Hemmann
James McVinnie
Alexandre Navarro
Oh, Yoko
Sebastian Plano
Snow Ghosts
The Stargazer Lilies
Orla Wren

Compilations / Mixes
Air Texture III
Balance Presents Guy J
Compost Black Label 5
Enter.Ibiza 2013
Isla Blanca 2013
Loco Dice
Ultrasoft! Anthems 33
Till Von Sein

EPs / Cassettes / Singles
Campbell and Cutler
Desert Heat
Jim Fox
High Aura'd / B. Bright Star
Simon Hinter
Moon Ate the Dark
Northern Lights EP
Terrence Parker
Stephen Whittington

Marek Hemmann: Bittersweet
Freude am Tanzen

There's little that's conceptually mystifying about this second solo album on Freude am Tanzen by Marek Hemmann. Instead, Bittersweet suggests that the German electronic producer prefers to keep things simple and uncomplicated in presenting ten examples of polished techno and house that get straight to the point (even the one-word track titles are unfussy). On a typical Hemmann track, an airtight, high-energy groove locks firmly into position first, followed quickly by melodic elements usually of a joyous disposition. On this fifty-one-minute collection, samples are integrated so seamlessly it's next to impossible to separate them from the elements electronically generated by Hemmann.

Having inaugurated the set with the requisite luscious overture (“Xativa”), Hemmann gets down to business with “Mars,” a high-energy clubber whose jaunty strut and wisps of melody speak highly on behalf of the man's talents. The title notwithstanding, the album's no mope-fest, as most of the tunes are buoyed by a palpable spirit of uplift and controlled jubilation. A club-ready jam like “Endless,” for example, oozes joy in the swing of its locomotive bounce and bleepy synth melodies, while even the most morose human being would find it impossible to resist the sinuous melodies in “Hooray.” The album ends on a pastoral note with “Meadow,” a gentle reverie whose arrangement eschews beats for acoustic guitars, electric piano, and even sitar.

“Topper” is about as state-of-the-art an example of Hemmann's work as the album provides, even if it's tone is more brooding than others. In a complex, multi-layered arrangement, guitar riffs thread themselves into the whole so subtly they verge on subliminal, after which voice exhalations and synthesizers grow in prominence and the jacking pulse intensifies. One's appreciation for the material grows the more closely one listens, and one comes away from the piece appreciative of Hemmann's ability to sequence multiple episodes so smoothly into a six-minute running time. On the production front, Hemmann's clearly got skills aplenty, as shown by how deftly he folds vocal fragments into the propulsively grooving “Zunder,” and Bittersweet's tracks repeatedly impress as sophisticated fusions of rhythm and pop melody.

October 2013