Gregor Zentrich and Stefan Griesshaber are the Art Teachers from Stuttgart, and they’ve worked together on and off for over 25 years. A few singles and EPs have been released before now, but Tra is their first full-length album. It’s an arch, witty, playful collection of niteklub-friendly sounds with a big dose of Cold Wave 1980s style.
Griesshaber provides the lead vocals which are spoken rather than sung. The lyrics are inventive and bizarre, and definitely a cut above what you normally find on a ‘dance’ release – they’re like condensed monologues or fragments from an overheard telephone conversation. Zentrich creates the electronic beats and sounds which provide the perfect backdrop for the heavily accented voice.
The basslines are big, the rhythms are insistent – lots of old analogue-style sounds for added authenticity. Standout track ‘Cold White Funk’ features muted techno beats, submarine chords and a walking bassline. Zentrich is a skilled producer who clearly loves 1980s music, but this is more than mere pastiche – there’s a real joy in the small details of sound, and he’s not afraid to let things percolate and build slowly, and he understands that less is more. I can imagine this disc tearing up dancefloors in those clubs where the girls have angular haircuts, and the boys rock the Berlin Bowie look.
If this album had been released in the 1980s, it would have been on Factory or Les Disques du Crepuscule – nuff said.
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