Andre Lodemann – Fragments

Berlin’s Andre Lodemann can be an odd one: I’d wager he doesn’t really belong in any one pigeonhole or neatly-defined box. At some level, his music’s got the gentler, easygoing disposition and the massaging basslines of deep house, but the keyboard melodies he favours are artificial and mechanical like techno. He’s not minimal or tech house, that’s for sure: Lodemann favours big lifelike sounds, whether it’s jangling guitars or long, bubbling synth lines. His tracks tend to build slowly but epically like trance, eight-minute symphonies that have the melodies to match.

“Greatest hits” compilation Fragments begins with last year’s “Your Choice” which really is the Lodemann track—the one you’d show to your friends while you excitedly extol his virtues (or maybe that’s just me). Over a breezy nine minutes it builds from a sparse dragging click through to slightly Balearic guitars and windswept piano figures. In typical Lodemann fashion it threatens to throw open its wings and soar into the sun, but instead it prefers a smooth glide, his former trance obsession bottled into a steady pulse where the ecstasy courses methodically rather than exploding into obnoxious strobelights.

The collection does a fine job of showing off Lodemann’s many other skills. “The Light” and “Riven Reminisces” both show Lodemann’s knack for cut-and-paste melody, phrases that sound hastily thrown together and jerky but hummable all the same, while the downright nasty “Vehemence of Silence” features a rupturing bassline as if Lodemann has been boning up on his classic Metalheadz material. He can go gentler, like on the softer deep house pastiches “Coming Home” and “Don’t Panic” and he can even go vocal, with Natalie Claude on the jaunty “Searchin'” and the decidedly vanilla exclusive track “Going to the Core.” The other exclusive here is closer “Unknown Desire,” which takes what is either a sterling guitar or piano figure—it’s hard to tell in Lodemann’s world of ruthless metallurgy—and wrestles with it behind a perfectly sunny house beat.

The breathless ten-track main disc is accompanied by a disc of remixes, which feel mostly inessential, with Lodemann putting his classy spin on a bunch of unremarkable vocal house tracks. The most successful moments are his new vocal mix of Omar’s “Lay It Down,” where he lets enough light reflect off his cool chrome to match Omar’s lovely vocal, his remix of Tracey Thorn, which might be as close to big-room as he gets, and his lengthy restructure of Vakula’s “Ring of Light.” But beyond that the disc feels like the complimentary dessert to Fragments‘ considerable main course. Worry not: It makes for a satisfying and diverse meal.

Comments are closed.