Search and Hit Enter

Benjamin Brunn: A Sun Life

Benjamin Brunn is a name that most fans of the deeper house sound will no doubt have encountered at some point over the past few years. Already well respected for his collaboratory efforts with Dave ‘Move D’ Moufang alongside a host of solo contributions to labels such as Mule Electronic, Workshop and Smallville, Brunn appears to be taking things up a further notch with this long-player for Guy McCreery’s esteemed Third Ear imprint.

The opening track shares its title with the album and is a bold statement of intent. Weighing in at over eleven minutes and driven by a singular oscillating stab, its analogue flourishes make it clear where the artist is intending to take the listener. Following such an epic introduction was never going to be easy and ‘May B’ provides perhaps the biggest left-turn on the whole album with its ‘beat’ (in the poet sense) style; hip daddy-o lyrics giving way to an exhortation to ‘get down’ before we remember where we were going. It’s not a wholly unwelcome vocal interruption but it does seem slightly at odds with the fluidity that is part of Brunn’s modus operandi. He’s soon back to the business of flow, though – jazzy chords bring the abstraction and a filter opens up to really get the groove going on ‘Wheels Without Brakes’, while a lamenting ping and simple baseline are the mainstays of ‘U Teach Us’.

‘Hart To Hart’ is a pretty little interlude where he could have made more of a fuss – at less than two minutes it’s merely cutting room floor fodder that doesn’t seem to serve much of a purpose, especially wedged right in at the midway point. Again though, after that slight detour, Brunn is straight back on track – ‘The Way She Giggled’ is reminiscent of classic acid house, with a memorable lead line and boogeying, swinging drum patterns. ‘Pankow Memories’ provides a vague notion of kettle drums and water-filled percussive instruments on the one hand, and on the other an alien intruder which is highly synthetic and barely detectable, before ‘ISS’, a gently sweeping uplifting ambient piece, heralds the closing section of the album.

‘Nash’ is first rate abstract acid intended to warp minds at dawn, whilst ‘Papanin’ returns to the minimal purist funk and proves ones again you only need a little to make a lot (apparently Brunn only ever uses two machines; a Nord Modular and a Roland TR-707). This is one of the strongest tracks on the album and will no doubt find favour with DJ’s of the deeper persuasion. Album closer ‘Sun’ is perhaps something of an anticlimax, with its robotic synth noodlings and high frequency tones, but somehow seems to lay the way open for a very welcome sequel.

‘A Sun Life’ is essential but somewhat understated and might therefore be taken for granted – it has a vitality and consistency in common with its subject and like our nearest star may appear rather static but in fact is constantly in motion. As winter draws in, you could certainly do worse than try to catch a few warm rays from this album.