Only his third LP in an established career that spans nearly a decade and a half, Before We Say Goodbye is Irishman Donnacha Costello's latest album that deals with the topic of techno in his own unique and beautiful way. Released on Steve Bug?s Berlin based label Poker Flat, the album proves that techno music can harbour the skill, emotion and diversity that is so often missing within it.
Much like his 2001 masterpiece Together Is the New Alone, this LP taps into an ambient texture, but builds it with techno rhythms and pulsations. By keeping his club sentiment at bay, Costello delivers a subtle album that flows with the kind of natural current that is often lost within techno productions.
Weaving in and out of styles, up and down tempo ranges, the LP is expertly crafted to take you on a journey that ebbs and flows with purpose. From the deep and melancholic but groovy slow burners such as "Leaving Berlin" and "A Warm Embrace" that set the LP off, Costello moves into an old school mood on "It's What We Do" before hitting his stride with the more up tempo offerings of "No-One Is Watching" and the onomatopoeic "Roll It Out." On the second half of the album he winds things down with tracks like "With Me Still," "Stretching Time," the mournfully melodic "The Tug" and the beautiful "Last Train Home" which finishes the LP off in aptly reflective mood. Such is the musicality of Before We Say Goodbye that it feels like an album crafted outside of techno and underground dance, but at the same time using the sounds and the flavours of the genre to redefine the way we view ambient techno in the UK.
DWhen an artist releases an album that immediately gains the respect of critics and fans alike, often their label will look to capitalise on the success with a quick remix package, pulled together to exploit the hype that surrounds the release. However, Donnacha Costello?s LP from March, Before We Say Goodbye, was not just a great album. It was genre re-shaping one, taking techno into a beautiful, emotive and diverse place where it rarely finds itself. Poker Flat, recognising this outstanding achievement, set out to deliver a remix EP that lives up to the original album and the emotions that it stands for. By drafting in Lawrence and production duo KiNK & Neville Watson, they have resoundingly accomplished the task.
Dial's Lawrence, who like Costello poses a real musicianship in the true sense of the word, manages to glean out yet more emotive depth from the Irishman?s pristine "Leaving Berlin" with smothering strings and a glowing wash of synths. We find the German in a sultry mood as he combines a rich, dubby atmosphere with beautiful melodic structures. As the track evolves, dense strings and softly pumping percussion begin to wrap themselves around the memorable hook of the original. Rush Hour duo, KiNK & Neville Watson turn in a classic acid rework of "It?s What We Do." Jacking all the way with a cruising bassline and tough drum machines, the duo bring a distinct Chi-town feel to the track but merge it with modern and skilful studio know-how.