Roman Flügel, Stricher EP



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It seems reasonable after 20 plus prolific years spent producing music that Roman Flügel’s recent solo output has slowed to a trickle. This isn’t to say the many monikered producer has been resting on his laurels — the excellent “Neues Testament” EP under the long dormant Roman IV guise puts paid to that notion — but the venerable producer just doesn’t need 10 to 15 releases per year to retain top billing. Yet you can hardly blame Flügel’s fans for hoping another few morsels meet his quality control standards and end up on wax. Surprisingly, Tiga’s Turbo label (rather than old reliable Playhouse) provides a home for his first original material of 2009 — the varied “Stricher EP.”

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The EP’s three tracks reach for old friend analog synths recognizable to longtime Flügel followers. Splitting the difference between galloping Italo disco arpeggios and tinny electro rhythms, the title track seems all journey and no end destination, leaving husks of synth tones to fizzle, detune and tangle in main riff’s erratic wake (rather like the calculated deconstructions of Villalobos, Bruno Pronsato and even Norman Nodge). In fact, the ribcage-as-marimba rhythms and fastidiously tweaked tones of closer “Prinzessin X” could be mistaken for the work of the first two gentlemen, though the latter portion embraces sinking video game motifs loved by dubstep producers.

Yet the highlight of the “Stricher EP” sits at B1 — the unusually lovely “Discofiasco.” Its aims are obscured by seemingly arbitrary plinks and plonks across the keyboard, held together by an abstract thread linking his vamps to jazzy improvisation. Its jovial bass line, square claps and carefree tambourine hint at a happier motive that grows apparent with the introduction of two clearheaded counter melodies tugging “Discofiasco” away from haphazard motifs. Then, as if the stars have aligned and the pieces fallen into place, gorgeous harmonic pads glide into view, a sonic epiphany of the tune’s purpose. He uses the same arrangement only once more after returning to randomness, so as not to dilute its potency. The same is true of Flügel’s unique vision more generally, which burns brightest these when not competing with his own other releases. Standing alone in 2009, the excellent “Stricher EP” is proof positive of this.

kuri  on July 21, 2009 at 2:49 PM

i’m right with you on the description of “Discofiasco.” it’s a good mixture of the random and fixed and when the melody comes together this track shines.

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