Terrence Dixon
Ten Favourite Labels 2012

1982 + BJ Cole
Oren Ambarchi
Alexander Berne
Born Gold
Carlyle & Cox
Kate Carr and Gail Priest
Paul Corley
Roland Etzin
Yuichiro Fujimoto
Godspeed You! Bl. Emp.
Ivar Grydeland
Sophie Hutchings
Kane Ikin
Jeanne Jolly
Paul Mac
Michael Mayer
David Michael
David Newlyn
No Regular Play
Oskar Offermann
Olan Mill
Roomful of Teeth
Bruno Sanfilippo
Valgeir Sigurdsson
The Sleep Of Reason
Jessica Sligter
Slow Dancing Society
Prins Thomas
The Use Of Ashes
Maarten van der Vleuten
Stian Westerhus
Wires Under Tension
Woolfy vs. Projections

William Basinski

Elektro Guzzi
Porya Hatami
Maps & Diagrams
Stephan Mathieu
Michael Trommer

Oskar Offermann: Do Pilots Still Dream of Flying?

Oskar Offermann's debut album Do Pilots Still Dream of Flying? should score the Frankfurt-born and Berlin-based DJ, producer, and label owner some serious points in the experimental house scene. While hardly groundbreaking, it's a satisfying, ten-track collection whose forty-seven minutes build a strong case for the man's talents as a music stylist, composer, arranger, and producer.

Offermann less constructs traditional verse-chorus songs than tracks whose loops and patterns gradually coalesce into densely layered set-pieces. He's got an unquestionable knack for elevating a given piece with a memorable hook or two, such as the querulous little synth figure that, joined by vocal accents, staccato claps, pulsating bass lines, and a punchy drum groove, aptly enough lifts the title track into the upper skies. A similar effect happens during “Sunlight Streaks” when a tiny string motif brightens a track that's otherwise memorable for its slinky, Rhodes-kissed groove and gravelly voiceover (which sounds suspiciously like Miles Davis). “Technicolour Dreams” likewise threads a soulful snippet by a female singer in amongst a thumping pulse whose swing grows ever more infectious, while “Felt Comfty [sic] Right Away” struts confidently into view animated by a shuffling groove.

Even something as slight as “Heading Out” ultimately wins one over for its breezy melodicism. That it does so when it plays like little more than a raw, two-chord house vamp featuring vocal lines that trail off into unintelligibility, as if Offermann was nodding off when recording them, says much about his music's basic appeal. Not everything impresses as much, however: “One Two Love,” for instance, amounts to little more than a water-treading instrumental house jam of little note. Having said that, a towering, body-moving synth-funk jam like “Believe” makes it easy to forget such lesser moments.

November 2012