Terranova - Hotel Amour

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  • Fetisch Bergmann and Marco Meister have both been permanent fixtures on the European scene since the mid-'90s, mostly as behind-the-scene producers. They first made their name via trip-hop-tinged and breakbeat-ish studio jobs for the forgotten likes of Cath Coffey, Ballistic Affair and Copyright and with more high-profile collaborations with people like Tricky. As Terranova, they developed a more personal kind of downtempo electronica with an urban twist (a sound epitomized by their 1998 DJ Kicks compilation). Terranova was always a collective effort, though—one that included in its ranks other Berlin partiers such as Filippo "DJ Naughty" Moscatello or Xaver Naudascher—and, as a result, early '00s albums like Hitchhiking Nonstop with No Particular Destination and Peace Is Tough came across as too disparate for their own good. On Hotel Amour, their first album after an eight year hiatus—and first offering on Kompakt—it seems Terranova's sound benefits from a renewed sense of focus. If you had followed the lead of the album's title track, you'd think the band members are indulging a weird, nostalgic throwback mood on Hotel Amour. And, when Billie Ray Martin starts doing her famous torch songstress schtick on "Make Me Feel" (a lead-footed mood reproduced on the "Code Blue" and "Avenue Wagram" interludes and on the more abstract "Take My Hand"), you could rightfully fear Hotel Amour is threatening to get all acid jazz on us. In that regard, "So Strong" is a more fitting introduction: just like its "By My Side" doppelganger and last year's "I Want to Go Out," the track is built around a light, ping-pong-like bassline that bounces without ever feeling aggressive or vexingly nervous. Khan's vocal presence is also fitting, his low-sung voice adding gravitas to otherwise schaffel-tinted, lascivious cuts. "Ain't No Thing," featuring the ever eccentric Snax, might be slightly more upbeat, but in typical Kompakt fashion (of late, at least), it also comes across as geriatric dance music at its most dignified. Then there is the rather exhilarating dance/pop hybrid "Paris Is for Lovers (My Love)," a Justin Timberlake cover that Fetisch and collaborator &Me originally released three years ago in collaboration with Tomas Høffding. That the album's penultimate moment is an acid house take on a modern R&B classic might feel irksome to all cross-pollination detractors, but it's hard to deny this track's—or the overall album's—immediate charms. Not unlike Gus Gus' underrated Arabian Horse long player for the label last year, and in a similar vein explored by Superpitcher during his latest, so-called voodoo house period, Hotel Amour doesn't cover new sonic ground. The dance floor corners the band does explore, though, are handled with sophisticated ease.
  • Tracklist
      01. Question Mark 02. So Strong 03. Hotel Amour 04. Paris Is for Lovers (My Love) 05. Make Me Feel 06. I Want to Go Out 07. Ain't No Thing 08. Take My Hand 09. Code Blue 10. Boogie for the Dollar 11. By My Side 12. Avenue Wagram 13. Prayer