Achterbahn D'Amour

Odd Movements, the debut full-length by Achterbahn D'Amour (Johannes Paluka and Jurgen Jool Albert), captures two artists coaxing the most emotional sounds to date out of classic Roland boxes. The album is the natural extension of the duo's live-rooted sound, further defining the oblique dance moves contained on their three Acid Test EPs. (Achterbahn D'Amour has also released on Johannes Albert's Frank Music and remixed the late Aaron Carl.) Odd Movements feels like a wintry retreat from the club - Jool and Johannes sought refuge from personal turmoil in the studio while making the album. As listeners, we're treated to several sides of sinuous funk with deep emotional resonance.

The duo has developed a seamless working relationship with Acid Test, the sub-label of Los Angeles based Absurd Recordings. The label's one obvious requirement continues to reveal untrod passageways of the acid sound. Achterbahn D'Amour demonstrate a true reverence for the 303 and 606. In their dj sets this love materializes in a predilection for classic machine-made people movers. On Odd Movements, lush pads and abrupt toms create a literal pedestal for the bassline machine. The plaintive chords which end opener Holy Romance Empire lead into the classic electro-influenced Passagen, a track which begins with an elegiac lead and breaks down into hollowed-out jack. Jaws of J.O.Y. is a mind-bending study of space and texture. A filtered snare, an odd-minor key synth vamp, and a rolling, insistent kick dissolve into a euphoric far-off pad. Half-heard vocal samples and exhalations of defeat weave in and out of the tracks, a nod to the force of memory shaping these tracks. The title track is an ambient excursion, all prickly bassline and unnaturally long delays. If the 303 is the wave's crash, Jool & Joannes are equally fascinated by the atmospheric drift back to sea.

In all this poetic depth there lies a dance album of the highest order. The gritty tom and snare smack of My Demands adds distortion to the record's rich textural palette. The bassline in Konigstr possesses a brutal economy; it's maddening catchiness could have banged the Music Box. That said, we already know that the pair can motion the dance (see Trance Me Up (I Wanna Go Higher) on Acid Test 05). The striking difference on Odd Movements is the nuance wrung from unfussy arrangements. Nowhere is this more evident than on ender Cream & Treacle. The deceptively slight track contains the album's most nostalgic progression along with its wildest acid line. The small box entered Odd Movements on a cushion of fierce rhythms and distant pads; now the workhouse takes a bow, its zigzag digressions shaped into a clear-eyed solo over sickly-sweet chords. The track is a drumless, searching end to this modern acid journey. In losing themselves by channeling their sorrows and triumphs through the machines, Paluka and Albert have hit on a sound well-suited for dark rooms and towering sound systems.

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