Tuesday, March 05, 2013

add 0098

The links between classical training and electronic music have always been apparent, at sometimes more clearly than others, so Aufgang's contribution to the field, given two of its three members' training at Juillard, is in many ways not surprising at all. The pianos that dominate much of the album range from the frenetic to the softly romantic, casting all of Aufgang in a slightly chaotic light. On balance, it is something of a frustrating album, certainly not terrible, but neither does it seem fully comfortable with itself, often feeling more like a showcase for the accomplished keyboard work than its own self-contained experience. Thus the opening "Channel 7" can't seem to decide whether it's meant to be contemplated as a soundtrack or used as a dance number or something else again, crunchy synths and the build-up of drums into bells creating another mood that's pleasant enough. At the band's most straightforward, they are often their most successful -- "Sonar," which almost feels like a salute to the early-'90s work of 808 State at points, isn't a re-creation of that sound or of the piano's driving role in so many early house records, but it comes close enough in feel to succeed in its own right. Similarly, the extremely calm "Prelude du Passe" and the swirling space rock drive of "Barok" add a little something more to the styles that the trio explores. In contrast, songs like the chaotic "Channel 8" has a lot of elements going for it, from synth zone to pulsing beats, but finds itself all stitched together under some sparkling touches that almost induce sugar shock. If not a full success, it is at least an interesting start on a full-length basis for the group.


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