A 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.
Where his compatriots' techno visions can encompass industrialism, futurism or sheer soulfulness, Kalkbrenner's is unique. It's about Berlin's rattling trains carrying thousands of merry partiers to and from clubs across the city, and bleary moments of emergence into sunlight. Perhaps people inherently pick up on this spirit, which is why Kalbrenner's music—including this album—will continue to be loved by the entire spectrum of electronic music listeners, and some outside of it.
Buy Paul Kalkbrenner - Icke Wieder at
Tracklist: Paul Kalkbrenner - Icke Wieder 01. Böxig Leise
02. Gutes Nitzwerk
05. Kleines Bubu
06. Des Stabes Reuse
07. Sagte Der Bär
10. Der Breuzen