An essential home-listening electronic music LP with a uniquely uplifted mood.
There are some robotic moments to be found across the original 12 tracks, not least the more danceable strains of "Sandmann" and the needlepoint beat programming on "In/Out (Initial Mix)." Overall, though, David Moufang's instinct for cosy melodic chords and lead lines made this a relatable record, however synthetic his tools were. 24 years after its release, it's remarkable how much personality Kunststoff still has, considering it was made with a standard-issue array of machines that birthed so many classic albums of the era.
A psychedelic thread runs through Kunststoff, from the swirling peaks of "Hood" to the tender undulations of "Beyond The Machine." These qualities can be traced back to Moufang's earlier explorations with Jonas Grossmann, as Earth To Infinity and Deep Space Network. Moufang favours this approach in many of his live ventures to this day. Improvisational sessions with regular collaborators such as Juju & Jordash and Jonah Sharp can unfurl like languid plumes rising from the end of a spliff.
There's a positivity throughout Kunststoff that gets under the skin. The opener, "Eastman," is the happiest cut; the rest of the album wears an easygoing, half-stoned smile. It's an infectious mood that has carried through in other aspects of Moufang's career. The jazziness in his chord choices here aligns with the Studio Pankow and Conjoint projects he later undertook with Jamie Hodge and others. (Earprints, by Conjoint, was reissued by DDS earlier this year.)
This isn't the first time Kunststoff has been reissued. It was initially re-released in 2006 on City Centre Offices. The latest reissue, by the German label ava., adds six more tracks from Moufang's archives to create a lavish box set. There's a live jam version of "Eastman," which, naturally, feels rawer in execution, and a blown out, reverb-soaked take on "In/Out," credited to Moufang's Solitaire alias. The "UK Vibes" version of "Hood," meanwhile, offers some insight into Moufang's fondness for British electronic music.
Considering the deluge of new releases arriving week on week, there is a question mark over the need to repeatedly reissue old material. But Kunststoff is rightly regarded as a seminal record—a quiet landmark in armchair-friendly electronic music. The reissue's alternate mixes, interesting as they are, don't add much to the experience of the original album—they are, perhaps, mostly for collectors and completists. An artist as versatile and prolific as Moufang has plenty of those.
Wed / 25 Jul 2018
02. Soap Bubbles
04. In/Out (Initial Mix)
06. Tribute To Mr Fingers
07. 77 Sunset Strip
08. Beyond The Machine
09. Nimm 2
10. Amazing Discoveries
12. Xing The Jordan/Seven
13. Eastman (Unreleased Live Jam)
14. Sandmann (First Take)
15. In/Out (Fifth Freedom Basic Mix)
16. Hood (Unreleased UK Vibes Version)
17. A.H. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (50th Anniversary Ov LSD Mix)
18. In/Out (Solitaire Ambient Take)