Here at TSP I personally have a soft spot for the music of Schlammpeitziger, mainly because due to the lovely mini-album Freundlichbaracudamelodieliedgut which came out in 1996 and was among one of the first “crop” of records from the Cologne avant-techno electronica upsurge reviewed in the early issues of The Sound Projector. That album was also the second-ever catalogue entry on the A-Musik label from Cologne, now of course a major retail-outlet and mail order service for unusual music and vinyls of all stripe. What’s the secret of their success? It’s run by enthusiasts who care about their customers and know about music. 1 Happy to report that on 2014’s What’s Fruit? (PINGIPUNG 42), the great Jo Zimmermann is totally on target, sinking every beat in the pocket and serving up colourful, friendly and simple melodies with his electronica devices – keyboards so sunny and friendly you can imagine they smile to themselves the minute they’re plugged in, humming in anticipation of the day’s work like a happy cat.
It’s the simplicity that appeals to me, for one thing…never known to over-complicate his work with unnecessary curlicues and filters in the sound, nor ruin his melodies by playing too many notes or attempting to show off in the keyboard in any way, Jo keeps it simple and clear. This results in tunes and rhythms that, although completely synthetic and electronic, seem perfectly natural – beautifully formed, precise and as well-executed as a piece of modern furniture (like a fitted kitchen where the drawers and cupboards actually work without the handles falling off). And while I’m not much of a dancer myself, I’d imagine this is perfect dance music for a party of friendly hipsters, although Schlammpeitziger’s music always proceeds at a friendly, loping pace (one piece could almost be used a reggae love song backing track) rather than catering exclusively to the needs of the high-energy 3-million BPM end of the dance floor contingent.
In short, strong melodies, humour, good will and flawless production – what more could you want from an electronica record? Here’s two bonus facts gleaned from the press release: (1) it’s the first record not to have been released on the Cologne labels A-Musik or Sonig (Pingipung are based in Hamburg). (2) Zimmermann recorded this lovely music when all around him was construction-work chaos, the area near his recording studio in process of being “improved” by workmen presumably making lots of noise, dust, clangour and mayhem in pursuit of their urban development tasks. It’s a testament to his artistic skills that none of this disruption affected the work, which remains upbeat and joyous as it dances off among the clouds. From 22 September 2014. Recommended.
- Please take note, current manager of Rough Trade East; you have betrayed the principles of independence and created a boutique of playthings for bearded cappuccino hipsters. ↩