Review Summary: A solid minimal techno follow up to 2008's Berlin Calling from one of Berlin's biggest names.
The 2008 film Berlin Calling
wasn’t exactly a huge hit in the west, yet as actor and composer for the film, Paul Kalkbrenner achieved quite substantial popularity in Germany. Sure some such as Ben Klock, Marcel Dettman and others around the Berlin scene may have as much talent; but comparing to his status and fame would be very difficult. Kalkbrenner’s work on Berlin Calling
should not be trivialised because of its popularity. Sky and Sand
still connects so easily and with such minimal effort, in a way that many in his field wouldn’t have a handle on. Tracks other than the single such as Azure
likewise are in persistent motion, with minimal brush strokes conveying such beautiful imagery.
Sure it was always going to be difficult to follow up on Berlin Calling
given its popularity, but Icke Wieder
certainly delivers on the sounds that have served Kalkbrenner well in the past. The album takes awhile to reveal itself, with lead track Boxig Leise
taking four minutes to warm up, before fizzling out as if not concerned with ever defining a beginning middle and end. Gutes Nitzwerk
moves along with more urgency in the beat, flourishes of melody appear like railway crossings interspersed throughout the song, while a softer coating surrounds the focused beat. Though composed minimally, the layers are crossed over dynamically to create ever-changing scenery. Other songs like Jestrupp
don’t resonate with as much dynamism, the beat and textures never quite gelling together as they should.
At its best, Icke Wieder
never redefines nor sets a new path. Kleines Bubu
utilises fairly simple string melodies over a strong rhythm section. Yet where on Berlin Calling
, this may have evolved into a single with vocals, Kleines Bubu
is content to flourish its strings. The seventh track Sagte Baer
again move with more urgency in the beat, yet the disjointed pacing to the album is noticeable. Songs don’t flow well into each other, nor does the album moves as a whole with purpose. Nevertheless Kruppzeug
and Sagte Baer
themselves move with quite beautiful minimalism, and harness a soft beauty that his more industrialised contemporaries in the minimal techno field do not appear responsive to. Der Breuzen
round off a strong back end to the album, the former more embellished with colour than others on the album; even bringing in some woodwind, though still encased in a minimalist narrative.
Kalkbrenner’s work in Icke Wieder
is still very much a part of Berlin, and looking back on past work by Kalkbrenner; there is a strong consciousness of sounds of the past. Though not possessing anything to compare to the hits of Berlin Calling
, Kalkbrenner is still aware of a side of Berlin that his contemporaries struggle to capture convincingly. At times Icke Wieder
, though disjointed, illustrates Kalkbrenner’s knack for beautiful minimalist techno.