I wonder what it’s like to collaborate with Legowelt. While his creations are often happy-go-lucky, Danny Wolfers himself has some pretty strong opinions on electronic music, a fact that has undoubtedly worked to the world’s advantage. It’s easy to envisage him using some old, obscure bit of gear to mangle a synth line his studio partner has spent hours painstakingly assembling. Then again, perhaps not. It’s much harder to see him working with someone devoid of his passion for whimsicality and dustiness. In the case of Brian Chinetti, aka Orgue Electronique, there’s certainly no problem — Chinetti’s solo productions tick all the same boxes. Accordingly, the two Dutchmen have been frequent collaborators over the years, variously assuming the guises of Macho Cat Garage or Chicago Shags. Some real magic generally happens when they do.
In the case of The Family Album — which is actually an EP — it’s the A1, “Ponderosa,” that best embodies the partnership’s power. Unusually, the track’s moxie can be ascribed to one brilliant moment. The first half kicks off with an undulating piano loop and the occasional intrusion of yowling strings. This pairing is strong enough, but at the halfway point, the beats drop briefly and ultra-plush bass joins the fray, following the exact same pattern as the piano. It’s an almost offensively simple trick, but one that creates some serious feeling. The other tracks are just as enjoyable, but tend to spread their thrills around a little more evenly. In the forceful “Pancake Breakfast,” a coarse low end writhes under rich bloops and reedy synths, while “Firetruck Sunday” does its best to create absolute chaos. It uses too many sounds to count, all of them spectacularly desperate for your attention. “To The Westfield” returns to the fat bass timbre of the A1, but here the journey is rather winding, with distracted synths and schlocky strings darting back and forth across the spectrum. Their trajectories aren’t random, however. The duo’s grasp of interplay is superb; a talent that is apparent in all four tracks and makes The Family Album totally worthwhile.