Karsten Pflum :: Love Canticles (Touched Music)

With Love Canticles, Karsten Pflum has the answer: sprinkle liberally with different styles, expertly program, apply crisp and precise production, weave in melodic and rhythmic playfulness and, above all, keep it short and sweet.

A truly great and engaging rather than fatiguing electro album can be a difficult thing to nail but with Love Canticles, Karsten Pflum has the answer: sprinkle liberally with different styles, expertly program, apply crisp and precise production, weave in melodic and rhythmic playfulness and, above all, keep it short and sweet.

Wrong-footing is the name of the game on Love Canticles. There’s the finest, most unexpected use of pitch-bend in the bass-line of opener “Reichenberger Electro,” together with a trick breakdown leading to a false ending and unexpected adrenaline boosts. “Borg Acid (Nyborg Mix)” begins with all the crisp and diaphanous minimalism of +One’s Plaid-produced Bare Necessities before layering on the acid, Funckarma-style chopped and screwed drum-and-bass rhythms, the quirkiest of music-box spring melodies and scene-stealing, nostalgic Not For Threes coda. Vocoder elements also show up in killer style on “Reichenberger Electro” but less successfully in the Bola-esque and overly-baked “Information and Indication” that’s a little too fond of its own, stoned voice. Luckily the melodically similar “Montpelier Disco” slaps it around the chops and injects new energy quickly enough to keep the pace going.

In its slower, more hip-hop influenced moments there are traces of Merck or early deFocus Tim Koch and Lackluster built into the sound design, as on the resignation-fueled, drowsy melancholy of “CZ Melodie,” while Ae Amber crystalline tones and hip-hop rhythms of Tri Repetae the superlative “I Am Ice.” At other times, Love Canticles quite simply kicks ass, as on the clip-hop electro breakdowns of the funky as hell “Squid Dream” replete with claps, hats, IDM fuzz and buzz that evolves into the prime melody. Or there’s the reverb and delay-fueled, chopped and screwed, high-speed projectile that is “Borg Acid (Rebuilt by Humanoid)” giving us some indication as to what an Autechre/FSOL via Aphex Twin hybrid might sound like. Utterly, stellar is the simple answer, incidentally.

That Love Canticles is short is one of its manifold strengths: at seven tracks it’s a serious shot-in-the-arm experience that wears off way before it even approaches overstaying its welcome, the slightly labored and typically acquired-taste ISAN remix aside. It comes as little surprise to learn that Ochre mastered this too, his typically luscious, playful and almost classical fingerprints a sensitive and pervasive enhancement to the already superb source material. Plus, he remixes “I Am Ice” at the end, and it sounds exactly like an Ochre track whilst fitting in beautifully with the rest of the material here.

Buy Love Canticles without hesitation. Not only is this on Touched, but it’s also easily one of the finest releases they’ve put out to date, and with Autechre among the roster of contributors to said, that’s no faint praise.

Love Canticles is available on Touched Music.

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