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Tuesday
Dec112012

Benjamin Brunn - A Sun Life

Third Ear

The opening and title track of “A Sun Life”, Benjamin Brunn’s new LP for Third Ear, starts where his previous EP for the label left off: deep, lengthy, classy and the highlight of the release. And referencing the Sun. This time it’s an expertly worked eleven-minute riff on a timeless combination of a propulsive deep house bassline, some adroit drum programming and lush pads. Orthodox, but so effective.

However, if for some reason the opener doesn’t float your boat, you probably won’t find much in the rest of the album to change your mind, as Brunn’s stated preference for a limited studio setup might well have something to do with a resulting sonic consistency. Sure, “May B” features a scat vocal, “Wheels Without Brakes” has a corkscrewing acid line, and the more jacking “U Teach Us” fills out a fatter bassline, but these hardly deviate from the mood established early on. Ambient interlude “Hart To Hart” is thus both conspicuous and all-too brief.

The second half is a little gnarlier, though the more hardened listener will still find it difficult to discern more than specks of grit in the album’s finely polished sheen. “The Way She Giggled” and “ISS” bring Boards Of Canada influences to the fore, while “Pankow Memories” artfully recalls microhouse (and demonstrates some pretty mind-blowing sound design if the gorgeous, resonant stroked-gong sound came of out of a synth).

“Nash” is less successful, somehow restraining screaming Wild Pitch acid so successfully that it ends up sounds like the backing track for a daytime TV show. It’s even a pleasure when “Papanin” returns to the tried-and-tested deep broken-beat motifs, before closer “Sun” throbs and flares gently in deep space (rather like a real sun then).

“A Sun Life” is clearly a labour of love. The production is near-faultless, yet I wonder whether many of the tracks need to be heard at bowel-loosening volume to reveal depths unimaginable to the home listener. Ultimately, your enjoyment will likely be a function of your capacity for melodic, urbane, and tasteful music, though you ought to find room for the title track at the very least.

Sam Stagg

 

Reader Comments (1)

Is my favorite music site deeply sleeping?...

February 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdamien

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