we’ve never been huge fans of LCD Soundsytem or the DFA staple, but that has recently changed with the release of “this is happening”. kicking things of with dance yrself clean, you get the sense that this album is something special, as a long introduction preps things up for the barrage of modern, pop-infused dance music that will fill the rest of the opening cut, and indeed the entire album. perhaps, the reason why we love this album, compared to the band’s previous efforts, is the fact that their songs sound much more restrained and listenable, while still maintaining their characteristically edgy and danceable approach.
jamie’s fourth solo effort comes two years after his previous one (“jim“), and right off the bat you get the sense that this one will be a completely different monster. with “compass”, lidell strays away from his signature soulful style and digs into more obscure territories by collaborating with other outstanding musicians, such as: beck, chris taylor (of grizzly bear fame), and feist. in fact the entire album was recorded both by lidell & taylor, giving jamie’s overall funk aesthetic a decidedly different touch. luckily in this case, the change is for the better good; making this album grow on you with each successive listen.
This is Phillip Sollmann’s second album under his Efdemin moniker for Hamburg-based label Dial, and it’s a very good second effort indeed! “Chicago” showcases his mad-scientist ability to fine-tune and balance not only sonic elements, but also musical styles and influences, fusing elements of classic house, deep techno, jazz, and soul, all while maintaining a solid and cohesive groove, which is equally as effective in a large rig at a club as it is in your living room. Moreso than his first album, we get a greater sense of diversity here, with tough, jacking grooves like “Shoeshine” and “Night Train” that meld serious atmosphere with soulful stabs, wild cymbals, and even police sirens, but also more abstract, hypnotic numbers like “Nothing Is Everything” and “Wonderland (The Race For Space)” that channel his inner Ricardo Villalobos. With “Chicago”, Sollmann has succeeded in moving things forward musically by looking back and drawing from classic influences.