Once in a while, when he’s not up to his silver ringlets producing and remixing for the likes of Goldfrapp, The Rapture and Gwen Stefani, Ewan Pearson will team up with long-time collaborator Al Usher under their Partial Arts guise. The pair’s last significant release was ‘Cruising’, a fizzing mid-paced electro cut recorded for Dialect’s Battle series that managed to satisfy without sounding at all groundbreaking or vital. The Berlin-based Englishmen have stepped up their game, however, for this relatively high-profile Kompakt 12”.
‘Trauermusik’ (meaning ‘Funeral Music’) is essentially a chunky, chiming electro-disco cut with Balearic embellishments, sounding like the work of a less adventurous Justus Kohncke. A full-bodied but plaintive synth line is the dominant feature, but the trebly percussion crashes (described by Pearson himself as “cannons going off”) are perhaps the track’s most enduring and endearing element. The boom-bap groove slowly rises in intensity, before a short but effective breakdown arrives in the shape of a loping, stately cello flourish, and then it’s back to the cannon blasts and ascending chords, which build and build to a melancholic but optimistic (and faintly trancey) denouement.
Alter Ego’s bullish flipside remix isn’t subtle, but it really is rather good, taking the electro elements of the original and working them into a squelchy, stripped-down fidget groove. Pitch-shifts, scratches and bleeps come and go, but it’s the sweeping ‘Rocker’-esque builds and knowingly pompous goth-house riffage towards the track’s end that make this one of the most dynamic, effective and, well, fun seven minutes of dancefloor excess that you’re likely to hear this year. Some funeral?
Tracklist: Partial Arts - TrauermusikA Trauermusik (Original Mix)
B Trauermusik (Alter Ego Mix)