Thomas Fehlmann as a solo artist has been under-appreciated for far too long. 2010’s ‘Gute Luft‘ was a breezy and gorgeous dub techno exploration of Berlin city life as the soundtrack to ‘24h Berlin’ – which, at the time, was called the “longest documentary ever.” And three years before that, ‘Honigpumpe‘ brought a rubbery funk to his sound that balanced out the variety on his projects with true sonic consistency. Fehlmann is still the master at making low-key masterpieces, and with his new album, ‘Los Lagos’, he’s shown himself to be no different.
On the first track, “Löwenzahnzimmer,” he shows us to the bottom of a nocturnal pit, a night time vista overlooking the profile of a city far away; sonically, it sounds like a negative-image version of Fuewa’s ‘Birth Palace‘. As it draws us in, the percussion becomes more than just a kick with a groove developing by the end of the song.
“Window” presents us with some proper dub techno, a gorgeous pad just underneath the action, allowing the song to float during its’ almost 9-minute runtime. Almost every song on the album runs over 7 minutes, but not a single second is wasted on uninteresting experimentation. “Morrislouis” and “Triggerism” both bring a tech-y vibe to the affair, with the former giving us a window into a more reggae-style Fehlmann mode and the later featuring the first true snare on the album.
Never an artist to stay content with one single style of music on any given album, “Freiluft” shows us what an Ashra-influenced kraut groove would sound like if it was interpreted by Moritz von Oswald. “Neverevernever” could be an alien dub rock band, interpreting the sound of piano-driven blues rock in the emptiness of space.
Our premiere “Geworden,” featuring a notable sample of Huerco S.’s “A Sea of Love”, closes out the album on a minimalistic, effervescent high note. Over the course of the track, the drone cycles while Fehlmann subtly adds an arpeggiated synth, synthetic glass taps, and chime rings. Rather than just simply play on top, Fehlmann illuminates the sampled track with a fresh compositional point of view.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard a solo project from the electronic music legend, and the wait has been well worth it. ‘Los Lagos’ is a testament to Fehlmann’s longevity as an artist and a peak at what he’s capable of as a songwriter and producer.
‘Los Lagos’ is scheduled for release 7th September 2018, order a copy from Kompakt.
4. Tempelhof feat. Max Loderbauer