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Move D & Benjamin Brunn - Songs from the Beehive

Move D & Benjamin Brunn - Songs from the Beehive (Smallville Records)

The 2006 collaboration “Let’s Call it a Day” between these two on Bine went virtually unnoticed and is now relatively difficult to get hold of. Don’t make the same mistake (if you did) again because they have hit on something quite special, taking these tracks from a series of live jams. Dave Moufang’s pedigree in dance music is rightly heralded, whereas Berliner Benjamin Brunn is something of an unknown quantity, but the two together have an alchemical quality that is quite unique. The lightness of touch that Moufang brings to his productions is complemented by a melodic atmosphere that builds slowly and deliberately. This is a long LP, with 7 tracks clocking in at 78 minutes, and 3 of those are over 13 minutes, but never is a minute wasted with, say, a regular metronomic beat. There’s always some sort of evolving texture, and the longer songs themselves mutate and progress unexpectedly. Gone is one simple theme or trope played endlessly. “Honey” is perhaps the one sop to the immediacy of the dancefloor, being formed around an insistent beat that then dissolves slowly but surely into what sounds like an off-kilter and disorientating acid line weaving around some gorgeous strings.

In a way this harks back to the golden age of the German minimal scene in 1999 when Kompakt, Mille Plateaux, Playhouse and Force Inc were at their height. It’s playful without being onanistic, harking back to a more celebratory period in electronic music. Disorientation, in a peculiar way, seems to be relevant throughout, particularly in the lulling ambience of “Like a Restless Sea” where repeated sampled voices change slowly, somewhat like Reich’s “Come Out”, over a backdrop of phased synths and the influence of Cluster (yes, everywhere I reckon) comes to the fore in “Mothercorn” as droplets of melody cascade over a slowly perambulating bassline. If anything, the album ends on a slightly meandering note, with “Radar” clocking in at over 20 minutes and being the most formless of all the songs included therein.

Like “”Let’s Call it a Day”, “Songs from the Beehive” it appears was recorded in a short space of time, with both musicians going to each others studios in Heidelberg and Berlin to record a handful of tracks in a short space. This then is an exercise in form and spontaneity, and works wonderfully. One hopes that this ad hoc collaboration will come together again soon.


Toby Frith

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