Ellen Allien
LISm


4.0
excellent

Review

by Kristof B. USER (6 Reviews)
April 5th, 2013 | 29 replies | 1,530 views


Release Date: 03/12/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ellen Allien has composed a coherent and extremely intriguing journey through many musical styles and moments, creating something truly original while doing so.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

If there is one thing to be said about Ellen Allien, it would be that she can be considered an accomplished artist. Besides having authored and produced a varied set of albums in the broad “electronic” genre, she owns the BPitch Control label, hereby launching the careers of many other Berlin-based artists, and even runs a fashion line.

But see, every Allien album is just what it is: an album, but without a real connection between subsequent releases. Sure, some typical “Allien-esque” features always re-appear: she has always shown to have a knack for combining her rather mechanical electronic beats with, for lack of a better word, poppyness. Sadly enough, each of her previous albums had some great tracks to offer but were not able to sustain the same quality during the course of the whole listen. Is it because Allien lacks the required focus? Could this also be the reason why Allien has always been somewhat reluctant in truly embracing a certain style or genre? Indeed, by always changing direction one can try to obscure the fact that they haven’t really much to say about, well, anything. In this context it is also interesting to note that Orchestra of Bubbles, the album which is widely considered to be her best, is in fact a collaboration (with Apparat). So maybe Allien feels it is time to prove that she has got the skills to create a consistent and innovative album on her own?

Fact is that with LISm, Allien appears to make a U-turn in terms of style. The album consists of just one 45-minute-long track, being more of a suite, and on it she moves away from the short, catchy, danceable tracks she has always been making in the past. Just like Krieg und Frieden, the latest outing of the aforementioned Apparat, LISm wasn’t originally composed as an album but as the soundtrack to a contemporary dance piece. In style and atmosphere, LISm can be seen as a DJ mix trying to fuse minimal techno with ambient soundscapes, noise and what not. LISm is all about losing yourself in the constant stream of sounds and moods. It is never clear what direction the composition will take in the following moments, but every twist and turn in its flow feels natural. From the initial random noises and classical instrumentation the piece evolves into electronic noise and after the 19 minute mark even jazz.

Of course, when an album is created by someone as experienced as Ellen Allien, nods to previous releases are to be expected. Fans are not entirely alienated (pun not intended) by the piece since over the course of LISm typical Allien things appear. In this respect, LISm could be considered as a successor to her previous "minimal" album Sool: of course there is the extensive (repetitive) use of her vocal samples and after 27 minutes we are greeted by the first real beat in the piece, which could have been on any of her previous albums. This is also the way the album ends: drones and sporadic glitchy beats slowly transform into a brisk and steady vintage-Allien techno finale. This combination of unrelated elements in the mix might sound strange on paper and could suggest that Allien just wanted to make dance music, but dropped in some “arty” stuff to achieve more artistic credibility. Luckily, this is not the case: as mentioned before, LISm can be viewed as a conventional DJ mix of unconventional parts. The reason why all the parts are there is just because they work well together.

Regardless of what the motivation was to create and release it, LISm is yet again a demonstration of the mere technical skills of its creator but it also shows that Ellen Allien just loves to make music of different styles and genres. With LISm, she composed a coherent and extremely intriguing journey through many musical styles and moments, creating something truly original while doing so.



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user ratings (4)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Typhoner
April 5th 2013



838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Is it a good album? I don't know, but I 4'd it!
Is it a good review? I don't know, but I posted it!

No youtube links, since there are no short tracks.

Digging: Traumprinz - All The Things

WashboardSuds
April 5th 2013



4993 Comments


sweet a new album

Digging: Gas - Nah und Fern

Typhoner
April 5th 2013



838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet, a comment!

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 5th 2013



2714 Comments


Ah man... you've just reminded me how good Orchestra of Bubbles is.

Big fan of this album (great review aswell btw, have a pos), though I think it's been overshadowed slightly by the waves of absolutely amazing ambient stuff 2013's gifted us with.

Since you bring it up, any thoughts on the new Apparat? I wrote half a review on it when it came out but couldn't ever find enough to say :/

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 5th 2013



2714 Comments


I post twice because I'm cool.

Jash
April 6th 2013



4244 Comments


Sounds interesting I will check it out, good review too have a pos

WashboardSuds
April 6th 2013



4993 Comments


Bubbles is def her best stuff. I dig Berlinette tho

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2013



6443 Comments


she has always shown to have a knack for combing her rather mechanical electronic beats with

Combining?

Otherwise, really nice work man.

I realy should check out this and her Apparat collab (if I can find a link). I'll get back to you with my findings, but if I'm going by your review, this really can't go wrong.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
April 6th 2013



6443 Comments


I get a heavy Nicolas Jaar vibe from this. Album's pretty cool so far.

Typhoner
April 7th 2013



838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Ah man... you've just reminded me how good Orchestra of Bubbles is."

Yeah, it's fun, catchy and just crafted very well.

"Since you bring it up, any thoughts on the new Apparat? I wrote half a review on it when it came out but couldn't ever find enough to say"

I like it. It's very typical Apparat, but a bit more modern classical-ish, or something. I haven't heard it enough yet to be sure...

"sad to say nothing this girl has done or every will do by herself will be as good as her album with apparat. they should just be together always."

Well, I think she's getting there. This album mainly feels like a major step for her, I'm interested to see where she's headed.

"Combining?"

Yes, I'll fix it. Thanks.

"I realy should check out this and her Apparat collab (if I can find a link)."

It's her most, err, "available" work I think.

"I get a heavy Nicolas Jaar vibe from this. Album's pretty cool so far."

Glad you like it. Should listen to Jaar again, only checked it out once I think.








Typhoner
April 7th 2013



838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

And thanks for the pos'es everyone!

scissorlocked
April 7th 2013



3509 Comments


nice review

album seems good

mindleviticus
April 7th 2013



8220 Comments


I thought most of her work was okay, but why can't she make something as good as Orchestra of Bubbles?

mindleviticus
April 7th 2013



8220 Comments


Apparat is the driving force!

scissorlocked
April 7th 2013



3509 Comments


she is essential for the inherent altrenativistic vibe though

mindleviticus
April 7th 2013



8220 Comments


????

scissorlocked
April 7th 2013



3509 Comments


yeap, walls is really great, though i also consider Moderat to be as good

mindleviticus
April 7th 2013



8220 Comments


Moderat is amazing

mindleviticus
April 7th 2013



8220 Comments


Seamonkey is such a damn good song

Typhoner
April 8th 2013



838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Krieg? You know thats a soundtrack right? Haven't heard it yet but was moderately off put by that

His latest LP is The Devils Walk ad that was hardly typical Apparat. it was horribly watered down and stripped of pretty much everything that made Apparat good"

I know it was oroginallu intended to be a soundtrack - but was it ever used as such? Haven't heard The Devils Walk yet.

"Apparat is the driving force!"

For Orchestra of Bubbles: probably, yes.

"yeap, walls is really great, though i also consider Moderat to be as good"

Both Walls and Moderat are pretty great. New Moderat album coming up this year btw!





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