- Last year's dizzying Happiness Is Happening didn't require a prompt follow-up. The second album by Roman Flügel under his own name offered plenty of freewheeling sonics and genre splicing to dig through, but he's gone ahead and done it again. Sliced Africa is as eclectic as the German house vet gets, delivering three tracks with many different moods and modes. Its connecting theme could be the African-inspired hand drums or sunny melodic flourishes, but the whole EP is best taken piece by piece.
Putting its best foot forward, Sliced Africa begins with the jaw-dropping "Black Towers," a statuesque 12 minutes of sublime, motorik house. Flügel taps into an otherworldly undercurrent, adorning vaporous pads with densely interwoven percussion patterns. The effect recalls early Aphex Twin. "Black Towers" is devastatingly pristine, and it's an early contender for 2015's most enchanting house track.
"Sliced Africa" is a monster of another kind. It lives up to its name with a massive, floor-filling beat built from djembes, timbales, marimba, cowbell and other African instruments, though Flügel isn't simply recreating a sound. His sly synth touches—a snarl of low-octave waveforms here, a plume of ghostly FX there—give the track some added charm. Cute but less effective is the Kraftwerkian electro of "Spiritual Enhancer," which is an homage to its obvious influence. It's unfortunate, too, because Sliced Africa is an otherwise exceptional EP by a man who continues to prove himself as one of house music's most talented and versatile artists.
A1 Black Towers
B1 Sliced Africa
B2 Spiritual Enhancer