Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fly, Flügel, Fly!

Well, here was I thinking that the mix CD was over and that, to be frank, Roman Flügel was all washed up.

Think again, folks...

As you know, SSGs usually refrain from tipping and reviewing recordings, but...

I just received a CD promo copy of Flügel's contribution to the so far otherwise underwhelming (or perhaps 'whelming') Live @ Robert Johnson mix series.

Fuck. Roman has really hit it out of the park with this one, for real.

A tracklist and other basic info are here on RA.

In a sense, this is a 'backward looking' mix CD, one that could have been recorded at any time in the past ten years or so. Then again, the track selection and programming are totally on point, there are some really nice re-presentations of a few classics AND Flügel's own productions here, contributed for the mix, are the bomb. This is basically an acid mix, but in a very certain way... if, as I do, you love Tin Man's minimalistic, 'long trippy' acid styles but get a bit tired of the remorselessly grey, bleak atmosphere, here's a way to continue in reduced/bleepy form, but with added slap, thump, and bounce... yes, there is even a bit of boompty here, but as always with Playhouse-associated sounds, it doesn't overcrowd things. This is house, this is techno, yes to both, more please...

Roman was easily one of the most talented, subtle, supple producers of the first half of the 00s. I can't help but think that main room bombs like 'Gehts noch' and 'Rocker' overshadowed the real quality abundantly evident in his other, less populist personae. But by the time La Forza del Destino was released, it seemed like a greatest hits comp, and since that time, very little of Flügel's work - either as a DJ or as a producer - has been exciting. In my dismay, I wrote the guy off as another Marc Leclair, someone whose later works (with notable exceptions) failed to fulfil what was promised by the explosive energy of the earlier sounds.

If you don't know Flügel's solo stuff well, PLEASE remedy this and find the old EPs on Playhouse and Klang, as well as the CD compilation of his Eight Miles High works, the best of which are fucking spectacularly beautiful pieces of electronica.

...or then again, just get this mix CD. Though it is kinda retro, is at once the best representation of Flügel's inimitable style AND clear evidence of a vital talent.

In any case, get your ears around a copy ASAP, it's fucking fantastic.



  1. I was looking forward to this but was hesitant, finding the earlier volumes grave disappointments. Thanks for the (p)review Peter, this sounds promising.

    I saw Flugel DJ in 2007 at the Kompakt - Playhouse off Sonar party and he was outstanding, unpredictable track selection but very fluid, relentlessly fun and funky, with almost humorous twists and turns. A rare treat, he left Kompakt in the dust.

  2. i used to love flugel and was really surprised and disappointed when he lost his way. i sincerely hope this is a sign of a return to form, because when he is on, he is one of the very best.

  3. He`s releasing a new album on Dial Records this year.

  4. hehe, yesterday i wrote a review in the same style as this post. i was really surprised by this mix cd. get it!

  5. underwhelming robert johnson series? thomas hammann and gerd janson's installment is amazing.

  6. @ Sam: I dunno... the Hamman/Jansen one... nah, I had a good few listens. It's rock solid, but it's just a very tight house mix. Whelming. ...and I can't listen to the Superpitcher remix of Dntel anymore, it's too overwhelming for me... it also doesn't fit the rest of the mix.

  7. hmmm, I rarely buy compilation CD's these days (like most others I guess) but the Flügel in the RJ series did catch my eye so now will track it down. Thanks : )
    On Marc Leclair - yeah wish I knew what happened there. Maybe just over it ? He was an absolute revelation when I discovered his micro house. To this day, his Mutek and Bunker podcast remain amongst my favourites. OMG. As I said to a mate, so godamned funky, a corpse in a coffin would jump and and start bustin' some moves.

  8. Hamman/Jansen is the only installment I've not heard, but Chloe, Prins amd Smagghe's were all wasted efforts, particularly after all that flashy packaging.

  9. @ Josh: agreed - all hat and no pants. The recourse to deluxe packaging also shows up the insufficiency of the unpackaged item too, no?

    I mean - podcast mixes have so many fewer issues with clearing tracks, and, sound quality aside, CD is so limited.

    I could understand it better if CD mix comps always published a second, unmixed version as a matter of course with all the tracks. But so many don't...

    ...when I was learning about groove-based electronic music, mixes were a very vital way of building links, opening up new labels, new personas, new crossovers etc... the blogosphere and mix series does this better, and is so much lighter in terms of the plastic/packaging/transport/storage etc involved...

    ...I recently tried to sell some CDs... nobody wanted them! I even went into one store and the guy was like 'sorry mate, we're vinyl only now, we don't do CD anymore'.

    Time of the signs, o indeed.

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  11. Flugel as 1/2 Sensorama is him at his best in my opinion. Love the Eight Miles High material as well.

  12. Flugel was in Ukraine twice & I heared that he played mixture of easter influenced tech-house with contemporary techno sound.


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