gullbuy music review

Ellen Allien & Apparat


Orchestra of Bubbles


Bpitch Control


Creative Outlaws CD coverOrchestra of Bubbles is the collaboration between two label head honchos, Ellen Allien (BPitch Control) and Apparat (aka Sascha Ring) (Shitkatapult), who have been releasing vanity projects for years on their own labels.

Orchestra of Bubbles disciplines each artist by forcing Ellen Allien to spend more time honing her vocals without tweaking them later, and making Apparat be more patient and work with someone else in person rather than sending tracks through the mail. This collaboration combines together the organic glitch of Apparat and the cold hard techno thrill of Ellen Allien in a unique way that rises above their solo releases, but still feels like labelheads rubbing their own mojos.

One of the biggest problems on Ellen Allien solo releases has been her weak vocals. Combining Apparat's organic glitch approach with Ellen Allien's more dance oriented vocals was a great idea to bring out the best in both of these artists. Augmenting Orchestra of Bubbles is the use of guitars to both the rhythm and the vocal phrases best shown on Way Out (though more guitars could've been used to really rock this disc out).

Ellen Allien sings on Way Out, Sleepless, Floating Points and Bubbles, and her vocals remain the weakest link in her arsenal, even though she has honed them with patience and tried not to tweak them here. At times, she can sound like the sweet girl vocalist a la a techno version of Claudine Longet, like in Bubbles. But mostly, she tends to bury them in the mix.

Apparat gives it a shot on vocals for the first time on Leave Me Alone, and while he too is not a great vocalist in the traditional sense, his relaxed style actually works creating one of the best tracks here (it's too bad the two of them didn't decide to do some duets together).

The best of the instrumentals aren't the more pumped up tracks like Turbo Dreams and Rotary, or the mellower ones like Edison, but are actually the collaboration with Complexàchord (aka Kathrin Pfänder & Verena Stepf) on Retina and Metric. Complexàchord created string arrangements which add just the right amount of organic tension that the guitars add when they can be heard (like in Way Out).

---Patrick, June 6, 2006