Review : Paul Kalkbrenner - Icke Wieder
ResidentadvisorA few weeks ago, I woke up with the melody from track one of Paul Kalkbrenner's Icke Wieder in my head. That's a remarkable feat considering I'd only heard the song once before. It's a statement which fairly summarises the German producer's output though. He's been around for ages—this is his seventh album—but it's his continued shift into catchiness which has seen him bestowed with rock star status. That, and a movie which appears to have been seen by every teen and 20-something in Germany (and parts of Europe).
Icke Wieder makes no attempt to rock the boat. Like Berlin Calling, it opens with a slow-winding guitar track and follows up with more overtly club-oriented material. In fact, the album's greatest weakness is sheer similarity to its predecessor. Percussion programming and samples seem to have been re-used on several occasions. The most obvious example is string embellished "Kleines Bubu," which employs the same hissing, piston-like hi-hat of 2008's "Train." Past that criticism though, there's not a great deal to dislike, at least for recently-joined fans.
Though overall he might play it a little safe, there's adequate variation in mood and intensity to hold interest, but not enough to reduce the whole listening experience to that of fragmented compilation. "Gutes Nitzwerk," for example, is driving and single-minded. "Der Breuzen" is filled with enough jazzy flourishes to impart light-heartedness despite its stomping kick drum, and the shunting claps and slow chords of "Des Stabes Reuse" provide a pleasing break halfway. As usual, there's concern for song structure and a measured, patient approach which sees elements eased to their conclusion rather than forced....full text
SputnikmusicThe 2008 film Berlin Calling wasn’t exactly a huge hit in the west, yet as actor and composer for the film, Paul Kalkbrenner achieved quite substantial popularity in Germany. Sure some such as Ben Klock, Marcel Dettman and others around the Berlin scene may have as much talent; but comparing to his status and fame would be very difficult. Kalkbrenner’s work on Berlin Calling should not be trivialised because of its popularity. Sky and Sand still connects so easily and with such minimal effort, in a way that many in his field wouldn’t have a handle on. Tracks other than the single such as Azure likewise are in persistent motion, with minimal brush strokes conveying such beautiful imagery.
Sure it was always going to be difficult to follow up on Berlin Calling given its popularity, but Icke Wieder certainly delivers on the sounds that have served Kalkbrenner well in the past. The album takes awhile to reveal itself, with lead track Boxig Leise taking four minutes to warm up, before fizzling out as if not concerned with ever defining a beginning middle and end. Gutes Nitzwerk moves along with more urgency in the beat, flourishes of melody appear like railway crossings interspersed throughout the song, while a softer coating surrounds the focused beat. Though composed minimally, the layers are crossed over dynamically to create ever-changing scenery. Other songs like Jestrupp don’t resonate with as much dynamism, the beat and textures never quite gelling together as they should.
At its best, Icke Wieder never redefines nor sets a new path. Kleines Bubu utilises fairly simple string melodies over a strong rhythm section. Yet where on Berlin Calling, this may have evolved into a single with vocals, Kleines Bubu is content to flourish its strings. The seventh track Sagte Baer and Kruppzeug again move with more urgency in the beat, yet the disjointed pacing to the album is noticeable. Songs don’t flow well into each other, nor does the album moves as a whole with purpose. Nevertheless Kruppzeug and Sagte Baer themselves move with quite beautiful minimalism, and harness a soft beauty that his more industrialised contemporaries in the minimal techno field do not appear responsive to. Der Breuzen and Sckmoekelung round off a strong back end to the album, the former more embellished with colour than others on the album; even bringing in some woodwind, though still encased in a minimalist narrative....full text
MusikexpressHier schreibt der Chef anscheinend noch selbst. Sein neues Album "Icke Wieder", das am 3. Juni erscheint, kündigt Paul Kalkbrenner nun mit selbst formuliertem Pressetext an. Kalkbrenner, der seinen Berliner Dialekt nie verheimlicht, beschreibt das so:
"tach! icke wieder.
auf vielfachen wunsch und noch häufigere nachfrage habe ich mich in den ersten wochen des jahres mal weggeschlossen und ein neues album aufgenommen, welches auf den schönen namen 'icke wieder' hört.
auf diesem album wird es keinen gesang geben, auch die musik von übermorgen gibt's diesmal nicht von mir, sondern es fühlt sich insgesamt eher so an wie... ja, früher.
ein bischen erwachsener geworden ist es natürlich auch, aber sonst: alles wie immer....full text
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- 1. Sky And Sand
ice-cream or chocolate?