Review: ESP Institute has always sought out unusual interpretations of electronic music. This latest offering from Benedikt Frey is no exception, as it sees him push the boundaries in a way that releases for Creme and Mule had only hinted at. "The Lobbyist" is a gnarly, rugged groove, gradually unraveling and full of the kind of intrigue that its title hints at. "Cupid's Delight" is even slower and more deliberate, with breathy soundscapes and twitchy percussive ticks adding to the sense of mystery. The release closes with "Gravel". Again the sense of otherworldliness prevails, with the rhythm at a dead pace and its fractured, disconnected groove sounding like tiny stones rattling around inside a tunnel.
Review: With five releases in the past year, it's fair to say that Frey's star is in the ascent. Ghosts, for TLR's label, showcases his deep, hypnotic sound, and puts him in a similar place as artists like Xosar. This is especially true on "Can't Joke With Dxy" and "Faith", whose warm, tranced out synths and fluid bass sound like they were fashioned after a dreary winter's day on a West Coast beach. The title track is more abstract and freeform, with Frey using a loose rhythm to underpin his swirling synths. Lastly, there's "Scales". With its understated vocals and languid guitar, it could be the soundtrack to an afternoon spent downing cheap beers in one of the Hague's dive bars.
Review: Darmstadt's Benedikt Frey has been one of the most exciting talents in electronic music in the last few years. With releases on local institution Live At Robert Johnson and Barcelona's Hivern Discs in addition to his experimental project INIT (with Nadia D'Alo) he returns once again to Lovefingers' Los Angeles based imprint. This is the second time after last year's impressive The Lobbyist EP. Be prepared for more cosmic, post-Kraut psychedelia of the greyscale kind from Frey on his first ever full length release. Highlights include the brooding industrial punk-funk of "Controversial", the slow burning hypnotic techno epic "H For Hysteria" or the Can styled progressive rock of "Keygrind" which really shows off the diversity. Add to that the the woozy acid tribalism of "Push" or "Patcher" which are perfect for setting the mood early at Offenbach's favourite clubs.
Review: Following on from last year's remixes of Artificial on ESP, Benedikt Frey returns to the label with some fresh material. "Interlinked" is a robust electro affair, bolstered by steely drums and tweaked acid that support an ominous vocal sample. It sets an ominous tone for the release. The mood remains the same but the delivery differs on "Pilot", where Frey lays down understated bass notes and gloomy atmospherics. While "Interlinked" sees him pick up the pace and resounds to a low-slung groove, it too boasts haunted vocal samples and eerie synths. The fuzzy, murky rhythm of "Pedal to the Metal" closes out this superb EP of electronic mood music.
Review: Frey follows up Reframe, his 2015 release on Live At Robert Johnson, with this left of centre affair. "Looking Back" is a drawn out, acid-heavy affair that resounds to steely snares and a feeling that the listener is being sucked backwards down a tunnel to Alice in Wonderland. By contrast, "Clown Time" is a high tempo affair that has echoes of Woody McBride's acid sound, aligned here with break beats and vocal snippets. Finally, there's the title track; different to the preceding arrangements, it's a sprawling affair, led by a buzz saw bass and featuring indistinct, new-wave vocals - the kind of jam that Intergalactic Gary will spin.
H For Hysteria (Tolouse Low Trax remix) - (5:18) 120 BPM
Private Crimes (DJ Normal 4 remix) - (5:13) 142 BPM
Private Crimes (DALO remix) - (7:24) 130 BPM
Review: Last year, ESP Institute put out Benedikt Frey's debut album and now they offer a remix package that's just as impressive. First up is I:Cube, who reworks "H for Hysteria". Currently riding high on the back of his brilliant Double Pack release, the French producer turns it into a deep, flowing affair, led by subtle acid tweaks and hushed atmospheric chords. In Tolouse Low Trax's hands, the same track morphs into a stripped back, bass-led affair, while DJ Normal 4 offers an idiosyncratic take on "Private Crimes", with deep acid lines and a ghostly vocal sample burning their way through rickety break beats. Rounding off this impressive remix package is DJ Dalo's take on "Crimes", where a spooky break beat sound prevails.
Review: A second set of selections from Live at Robert Johnson's excellent Lifesaver Compilation, for those who missed out on the CD/vinyl samplers when they dropped a few weeks back. Benedikt Frey kicks things off with "Sometimes", an atmospheric, woozy, melancholic and occasionally sombre slice of quiet house. The Citizen's Band continues on this intergalactic tip with "Descend", the aural equivalent of drifting through outer space with your eyes closed - all alien ambience and bubbling electronics. A fine EP draws to a close with Portable's huggable "Nano Flower", a hook-up with Lcio that pits drifting flutes and cute synth melodies against sweaty live drums and enveloping strings.
Review: MRT is a new label from the Swiss label Lux Rec, and judging by this debut release from Mule and Live at Robert Johnson artist Benedikt Frey, it is dedicated to abstract, mid-tempo experiments. The title track sets the pace, with rough tones and dark abrasive acid licks set to a pulsing, stop-start rhythm. "Telamon" follows in a similar vein; coated in 303s, it winds its way through atmospheric diversions and builds gradually over a dense, stepping rhythm. Finally, there's "Stereobate", which offers a surprise; instead of abstract rhythms, Frey lays down a jack-hammer rhythm that is as intense as trip to a dentist who has run out of anesthetic.
Review: A decade has passed since Tom Bioly and Benjamin Frohlich launched their Permanent Vacation label with a compilation of the same name. This fourth instalment sticks to the same formula as its' predecessors, serving up evocative, emotion-rich music that's tickled the fancy of Bioly and Frohlich over the last two years. Predictably, there's much to enjoy throughout, from the hammock-fresh laziness of Carrot Green's dreamy "Vodou", and the instrumental, Balearic synth-pop of Fantastic Man's "Seaside Special", to the tribal drums, jazz bass and ghostly chords of Benedikt Frey's "Lucid Dream". They predictably finish with a flourish, following Mapache's hallucinatory deep house shuffler "Let Me Sleep", with the dubby Balearic beauty of Suzanne Kraft's blissful "Tiles".
Review: Live At Robert Johnson's first Lifesaver compilation, released in 2013, offered an essential snapshot of the infamous club-turned-label's expanding roster, delivering tracks from respected heads and relative newcomers alike. This second installment ploughs a similar furrow, on one hand showcasing woozy dancefloor gear from familiar favourites (see Roman Flugel's formidable, sci-fi tinged analogue jam, "Tender Hooligan", and the beatbox electro-meets-spiraling synth-scapes of Lauer's "Language"), and genuinely impressive music from lesser-known names. In the latter category you'll find some genuine highlights, including the deliciously Balearic electronics of Chinsaski ("Futuresex"), and the Uncanny Valley style, semi-organic deep house chug of Benedikt Frey.
Review: People often forget that the widely-praised Robert Johnson club is actually from Offenbach and not Frankurt, a small town situated about 10 miles out of the city centre. Over the last few years, there's been a resurgence of talent emanating from the town, such as DJ Slynsgshot and his Yappin collective and associated artists like the Vincent Feit who opens the clubs thurd instalment of the Lifesaver series with a naughty little house melter called "X04". Across the comp, other RJ casuals appear, such as Massimigliano Pagliara with "Forever What", an aptly tropical house excursion, or Philip Lauer, Fort Romeau and the lesser known Felix Strahd. All in all, this is about the best house/techno compilation we've received all year and, like everything else the club does, it is an excellent addition to their catalogue. 10/10.
Review: Like a long and blurry session at the storied Robert Johnson club, Time Travel brings the listener on a real musical journey. It moves from the low-slung disco of Massimiliano Pagliara's "Sometimes at Night" into the deep, ponderous house of Portable and Maximillion Dunbar, moving into more dance floor focused grooves thanks to Benedikt Frey and Orson Wells before Frankfurt DJ Roman Flugel drops the brilliant wide screen electro of "Girls With Status". While Time Travel does largely document music emanating from the German city, it also goes back to the 80s to include the eternal Italo classic, "Flucht" by Zwischenfall.