Farben - Textstar
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Farben
Textstar

Farben is the pseudonym of one Jan Jelinek, and like his recent Loop-Finding Jazz Records release on ~Scape Records, Textstar is some seriously juicy music. Beats slurp more than they kick, and all kinds of amorphous washes and sounds slide back and forth and squish together like some sort of wave pool with a serious sense of rhythm. The far-removed cousin of house music, what Jelinek has created under the name of Farben is downright wet. Although track titles like "Farben Says: Love Oh Love" and "Farben Says: Love To Love You Baby" sound like the dialogue to some romance novel that has Fabio on the cover, they're more accurate than you might suspect, and because of that Textstar is one of the sexiest albums of the year.

Technically, the album is more of a compilation release than an actual album. Pulling together 9 tracks from 4 different EP/single releases on the Klang Elektronik label, it nonetheless provides a smooth-rolling journey that all fits together pretty darn naturally anyway. I could be a nitpicker and wonder why the release didn't include a couple more of the tracks (there were 15 total tracks on the 4 releases), but the life of someone who favors the purchase of CDs over vinyl should know that such problems are presented on a regular basis, and there's not much good that can come from worrying about it (although releases like Hefty's Immediate Action make me think that labels actually do care about us digital whores).

At any rate, Farben has quite a bit in common with the Jelinek release in that melodies are mainly composed of highly-filtered loops that may have at one point in their lifetime belonged to a jazz recording. Opening with the downright dancey beats of "Live At The Sahara Tahoe, 1973," the album, some small fuzzy melodies try to creep higher in the mix, and eventually play out in short bursts as beats and blorps ping pong around off one another. The aforementioned "Farben Says: Love To Love You Baby" takes more of a shifting, stuttering approach, as beats shuffle and slide off one another and the fragmented melodies never play out longer than a few short moments.

The album jumps back and forth between more dancey grooves and slightly more chill sounds. "Suntouch Edit" and "Beautone" both throb with fairly straight-up beats (not that you'd ever find either of them burning up the dancefloor), while the slightly darker sounds of "Bayreuth" chill things down with cascades of low-end rumbles and some processed chimes. Next to the majority of other tracks on the release (which breath with a slightly lighter feel), it definitely creates sort of a break in the flow, but it's a welcome one before the album gets right on track again to close things out. As mentioned above, this is an album full of thick grooves, and the one thing that makes me not give it a slightly higher rating is that most of the tracks sound very similar, and work very slight variations on the same theme. Jelinek might not be changing up his sound very much on his different releases, but he seems to have nailed the one that he is doing. It will be interesting to see what he does from here.

rating: 7.510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00