Even though he's been an active member of the Berlin-based music scene for some time now, Pale Glitter is only the debut album from artist Miwon (Hendrik Kröz). Last year, he scored quite a coup with the release of his very first 12", landing a John Tejada mix of his song "Brother Mole" on Andrew Weatherall's acclaimed Fabric 19 mix. The original version of that song is included on this debut album along with 11 other warm electronic pop tracks, and the solid release should mark Miwon as an artist worth paying attention to.
"Pop" is always such a subjective term, and his music doesn't come close to touching on bouncy, vocal-driven pop. Instead, this is electronic pop via way of Berlin. It's minimal, clean, dense, and warm. "Semafora" opens the disc with pulsing gurgles and some soft textural layers while rhythmic elements gradually make their way into the track but never quite kick in enough to push it over onto the dancefloor. The aforementioned "Brother Mole" follows, and while it doesn't quite have the obvious hooks of the remixed version (where they've all been pushed to the forefront), the wiggle-factor is undeniable as simple synth melodies bounce perfectly off the playful vocals.
Some of the best tracks on the album are also the ones where Miwon strips things down and simply lets his minimal dancefloor side roll. Both the album-titled "Pale Glitter" and "Hush" thump along with relentless 4/4 kicks and loads of textural washes (similar to what one might expect from the late-great Force Inc label). Elsewhere, he drops micro-sampled loops and clicky beats ("Flakes"), super-murky, almost dark experimental ("When Angels Travel") and a couple of tracks that push the envelope of dance music cheese-factor (the dated synth warbles of the album-closer "Tempo Woman").
One of the best tracks on the release is actually a remix of a song by the Estonia dream-pop group Pia Fraus. On "No Need For Sanity," Miwon melts away most of the original track, leaving in a pitter-patter beat, some minimal synths, and filtered vocals that change the entire direction of the track while still leaving it engaging. On "Spiralize," he drops some gritty sounds and a thumping beat for what sounds like a nod back to Weatherall by channelling the dirty electro-funk of Two Lone Swordsmen. As a whole, Pale Glitter is a pretty engaging disc, despite a couple soft spots that don't seem to have the same lush aesthetic (namely the aforementioned "Flakes" and a couple others). Considering it's just a debut, though, there's plenty to love about the album, and hopefully Kröz will refine his sound even more in the future.