Thomas Brinkmann is here to save the day with another stellar compilation culled from numerous 12 inch vinyl, cd, and unreleased recordings, which only Brinkmann can bring to us.
The thing for me that raises Brinkmann above artists with a similar minimal dub sound, is the fact that Brinkmann always keeps things moving along with a great beat - never falling flat with something that is too cerebral. Brinkmann may be able to do this so easily because he not only has a great ear for what makes a track move in a funky way sort of like his Soul Center works (but without being so overt about it here) as well as in a rhythmic way.
He is also able to combine fun samples with an intelligent sound which makes for enjoyable and repeated listens. Row is the latest compilation to mine his varied output, and includes an excellent sampling, even including some new versions for those who might have already collected the original releases, and it will keep even the most jaded electronic music fan happy.
- We get a tasty 2 minute intro called Corvette to start the disc out from the Thomas Brinkmann & Marcus Schmickler collaboration which may have raised some eyebrows thanks to the use of the sound of racing cars throughout. This is an excellent way to introduce the disc, and whereas usually I don't think of 2 minute intros as proper songs, in this case I think it can be thought in that way. For me I can't help but think of Steve McQueen in the movie Le Mans from 1971.
- A change of pace into the more subtle but quite provocative N.M.Q.P., which sounds like the Laub remixes from earlier this year called Fileshaving, thanks to the female vocal which is put on repeat and funked out by Brinkmann beyond recognition. If you liked the Laub remixes you will love this track. I also like the bass guitar which comes in a bit later in this track which helps to give it a krautrock feel.
- Next we have two different new versions of Max.E.3 - the first mix is a more typical minimal dub workout with an emphasis on the quanking keys, until some percussive elements surface later in the mix.
- The second mix of Max.E.3 is my favorite of the two because it emphasizes the poppy percussion more than the underbelly dub, as different clicking percussives surface reminding me of someone walking through empty halls of ancient architectural wonders. The melodic elements take their time to appear and when they do things are really clicking and popping along at a real fine clip.
- The rhythm keeps steady with the next track Max.E.4 with a sampled piano to keep things interesting.
- Isch pays more attention to the funk-ness of the melody (which sounds somewhat like a heavily modulated electric guitar) coupled with the rhythmic build-up. The female voice which comes in saying Isch is what gives this track its title.
- The next track Loplop brings things down a notch in excitement, but brings things up a notch in submerged dub. A little more subtle than the previous couple of tracks but longer (at 9 minutes) there is a lot more going on then first expected and things keep rising in the mix as it extends out.
- Mexico starts with an extended intro consisting of someone saying "Mexico" but it is mutated to sound like "sicko" - this track is a true highlight. Not only is the sample which starts this track cool, but when the track itself kicks in, it is prime minimal dub rhythms.
- The next track, Ribisome, uses the most sampling, with its science class dissertation on ribisomes, genotypes and phenotypes. It sounds like something from New Metaphysics and you might actually learn something from it too.
- The last track is the unreleased Toothpaste, and it's a playful song which has a sample of someone brushing their tooth, gargling etc., and is a lot of fun.
10 tracks total, and Thomas Brinkmann definitely rises to the occasion and he does not disappoint on this stellar collection of his work.