- Neil Tennant of The Pet Shop Boys famously said that all great music is "happysad." Like life itself, such music is at once exhilarating and profoundly melancholy. Ki Records' co-owner Christian Löffler aims for precisely that effect in his music, which is just one of the ways he reaches beyond the house and techno orthodoxy. A man who likes to drop The xx vocals in his DJ sets, Löffler is informed as much by the introspection of indie rock, or the emotional anguish of vintage soul and R&B, as he is by the traditional sound palette of 4/4 dance music.
At times, Young Alaska sounds like it could have been released on Kompakt six years ago—and I mean that as a compliment. Fans of Superpitcher or Michael Mayer will hear lots of familiar elements in Löffler's music: the ambience, the clip-clopping minimal techno percussion, the shameless love of pop harmonies and vocals (supplied by Danish singer Gry and Me Succeeds' Mohna). Löffler's tracks crackle with static, but the production is surgically clean in a way that makes Young Alaska sound both futuristically glossy and as lonely as a distant space station.
Young Alaska is no radical departure from 2012's A Forest, but it would be churlish to complain when he's making music of such grace and emotive power. From the pagan folk-techno of "All Comes" via the sunrise wistfulness of "Veiled Grey" to the chiming, Pantha Du Prince-ish "Roman," this is an album that takes your heart in its hands and squeezes hard.
01. Young Alaska
02. Mt. Grace
06. All Comes feat. Gry
07. Veiled Grey
08. Alpine Sketch