The Citizen’s Band, Broken Rome

[Live At Robert Johnson]

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After tearing up the dance music rulebook with his 77 Reasons 12″ in late 2011, I became anxious at the prospect of having to wait a few more years before Christian Beißwenger released another delectable dispatch from Frankfurt. Thankfully, CB withdrawal has been staved off by a new Citizen’s Band EP for his present home base, Live At Robert Johnson. Like 77 Reasons, Broken Rome sheds past aesthetics like last season’s wardrobe, favoring a demented if relatively more conventional house sound that leaves a few roots showing.

The title track could score a morbid bacchanalia where dancers traipse through the ruins of an empire as a queasy organ and dino bone marimbas trade riffs. Kept in line by martial drum work too varied not to be hand triggered, this house tune evokes mental images of Kassem Mosse trying to catch Roman Flügel while riding the same merry-go-round. Beißwenger’s Arto Mwambe repertoire comes in handy on “Densed,” the record’s most floor-focused cut. Primed for a grimy basement party, its pointed Juno bass line rumbles forth against a grainy backdrop which only fleeting synth leads can cut through. “Into” is left with cleanup duty, shuffling through aural detritus, reflecting on last night’s revelry through clear-headed melodies that could have been rescued from a Selected Ambient Works-era Aphex Twin demo tape. Broken Rome reveals history is on Beißwenger’s mind while striving to create music with the potential of timelessness. And by choosing sounds that have aged well, he at least comes away with his most diverse release yet. We’ll have to revisit the EP in a few decades to see if it truly holds up, but from my present perspective it stands a pretty good chance.

Nick  on May 12, 2012 at 12:10 AM

“Densed” is a massive track. Dat bass line.


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