Suits, ties, austerity and rhythm. At first glance, German three piece Brandt Brauer Frick's live take on dance music certainly appears similar, at least in terms of aesthetic, to that of their countrymen and fellow lovers of the motorik groove, Kraftwerk. However, debut full-length You Make Me Real is a much more warm-blooded concern than the robot-infused rhythms created by the elderly statesmen of dance.
Daniel Brandt, Jan Brauer and Paul Frick's set-up includes drums, glockenspiel, rain stick, trombones and harp. Pretty much anything outside of synthesised sounds, in other words. Although their playing is either treated or cleverly cut-up, sampled and fed back to itself, the emphasis is on real instrumentation, an approach which has seen the group likened rather aptly to the likes of minimalist composer Steve Reich.
So, how does it actually sound? The best songs from the nine are those which turn the house template inside out. "Bop" and its accompanying video cleverly deconstructs a house rhythm instrument-by-instrument before meticulously piecing it back together. "RW John" wouldn't sound out of place in a rinse out by Robert Hood. "Paparazzi" balances classical flourishes with an almost human sounding pulse, while "Teufesleiter" brings the record to a close in a suitably dramatic climax. It's full of bangs, strings and crashing which fall around a creeping electronic backbone. It also may feature one of the sleaziest tuba lines you've ever heard.
While the danceable, mischievous elements of the album stand out, other tracks such as "Mi Corazon," "Heart of Stone" and the title track stray away from the dance floor to limited result. And when the virtuoso tendencies of the group take over, some of the personality of BBF is replaced by a coffee table politeness. Leave aside these small complaints, though, and you're left with a rarity these days: A unique album that offers an experimental fusion capable of moving both the head and the feet.
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Tracklist: Brandt Brauer Frick - You Make Me Real 01. Corky Prelude
05. Mi Corazon
06. Heart of Stone
07. R.W. John
08. You Make Me Real
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