A Lust for Good Sound

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New Albums to Enjoy This Spring

By Benjamin Smith

I dig sex. Sex is good (usually). It is also synonymous with this season, at least in my mind: warmer weather, less clothing, longer nights. Listen to the birdsong at dawn — you know why the robins chirp. Nature is buzzed and ready to get some. Even the name of this month drips with sexual suggestion: May I do this? May I do that? The answer, of course, is yes (usually). Often, all you need for a satisfying skin-blitz is just the urge; other times the right accompaniment is desired. Since Europe remains the Church of Modern Sex, I present these reviews of new albums from across the Atlantic that may provide perfect soundtracks for Dayton bed breaking and sink shaking. Enjoy!

Album: The Princess
Artist: Parov Stelar
Label: Etage Noir
Release Date: April 2012
Country: Austria
Website: www.parovstelar.com
Perfect With: Riesling & Retro Lingerie
Climax Track: “Dust In The Summer Rain”

Ambition should almost always be saluted, both in the sack and in the studio—so give it up for Austrian DJ/producer Parov Stelar and his new double album. Its first half is slick, cinematic and jazzy house/electronic spiced by guest vocalists and live musicians, including one Jerry Di Monza on trumpet. Opener “Milla’s Dream,” along with “You Got Me There,” descends and jerks like porno Portishead, while the bass in “The Beach” bounces with jaded funk. The real deal, though, is “Dust In The Summer Rain.” If this song is not used in a future film about a torrid affair, Hollywood shall suffer my wrath. And Hollywood does not want that. None of this is to say that The Princess is immaculate. Unless you’re Woody Allen or the ghost of Charles Lindbergh, you’ll have a hard time getting aroused by the last 13 tracks of 1930s-influenced “electroswing.” The titles say it all: “Jimmy’s Gang,” “The Snake,” “The Vamp” (the latter actually features a guy named Max the Sax). Take my advice and buy the first fifteen songs, embrace a Continental groove, and ignore the irritated neighbors.

Album: MOHN
Artist: MOHN
Label: Kompakt
Release Date: April 2012
Country: Germany
Website: www.kompakt.fm/artists/mohn
Perfect With: Handcuffs & Vacant Eyes
Climax Track: “Saturn”

Disclaimer: I’m not into goth ambient or S&M (usually), but what the hell. Different folks, different strokes. If David Lynch movies get you juiced or their plots hit close to home, then this record — a collaboration between Messrs. Jörg Burger and Wolfgang Voig — should prove a dark delight. The Kompakt website describes MOHN’s music as “extremely decelerated, slow motion techno . . . containing lots of plasticiser.” (“Plasticiser, noun: a chemical added especially to rubbers and resins to impart flexibility, workability, or stretchability.”) Sure. At any rate, this is ideal for an endless evening of shameful — and possibly illegal — shenanigans. Break out the whip to “Schwarzer Schwan” or usher in a marathon of spanking to “Ambientôt.” Of course, you’ll really have to amp things up during “Das Feld” because it may rank as the most mundane thing ever recorded — 6 minutes of sound without fury, let alone a point (don’t argue with me, thou bearded Dayton drummers). The atmosphere lightens and the melody grows more tangible on the final track “Wiegenlied,” the title of which translates as “lullaby.” How bizarrely adorable. Sweet dreams, you little freaks.

Album: Fog Electric
Artist: North Atlantic Oscillation
Label: Kscope
Release Date: April 2012
Country: United Kingdom
Website: www.naoband.com/fogelectric
Perfect With: Candlelight & Surrender
Climax Track: “The Receiver”

Perchance your tastes run more Britpop than bondage, the third album by Scotland’s North Atlantic Oscillation will no doubt set the appropriate mood. Sam Healy (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Ben Martin (drums) have chiseled a diamond that, at certain angles, shines with romantic warmth and memory. Almost every song starts slow, then burns to a crescendo complete with Beach Boy-ish harmonies. Opener “Soft Coda” briefly suggests OK Computer’s first track, “Airbag,” before becoming sugar. This is not necessarily a crime. There are also moments of random darkness — and moments of sheer randomness that give Fog Electric a cinematic sense of duality. Individual concepts, like people, can be rather banal. It’s what happens when two meet and melt into one that excites, stimulates and makes grown men cry. After reaching a zenith on “Expert With Altimeter” and “The Receiver” (get your mind out of the gutter), the record winds down nicely with the acoustic “Downhill” and the synthesizer instrumental “(Theory of Tides).” A wonderful wave to ride with one you love or lust.

Album: Small Hours
Artist: Marbert Rocel
Label: Compost Records
Release Date: April 2012
Country: Germany
Website: www.marbertrocel.com
Perfect With: Crushes & Cigarettes
Climax Track: “Wait For My Raccoon”

So finally your obsession invites you back to their place for drinks. Strange stars have aligned . . . the sky decides to gently rain . . . narrow doors creak open. Initially you slump on a thrift-store couch, sipping Great Lakes and smoking Parliament Lights. Your crush asks if you’ve heard of Marbert Rocel. Thinking they’re referring to some famous French mime, you blurt out “Of course.” They smirk wisely and play an album of leisure sensuality. The two of you strive to talk of mutual friends and gossip, but the room soon fills up with warm repetitive sounds of keyboards, horns, bass, percussion and the words of a chanteuse named Spunk who sings of love. Once the hypnotic heart of third song “Whether The Night” pumps, gazes are locked, and by the time the haunting guitar riff of “I Don’t Know” summons long-forgotten emotions, hands are being clasped and hips are being pressed. What you do during the Depeche Mode-like “Wait For My Raccoon” could go down in history. Kudos to you, kid. Eventually you fall asleep . . . the sun rises in Europe . . . all seems right with the world.

Reach DCP freelance writer Benjamin Smith at BenjaminSmith@DaytonCityPaper.com

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