- The depths of abandon described on Oskar Offermann's Friends & Values blog include discussions about fly fishing, fitness regimes and recommendations for some nice, comfortable cushions. Those mature, sophisticated pastimes would make ideal accompaniments for large parts of his new album, Le Grand To Do.
After more than a decade of living in Berlin, Offermann has said he needs time away from sleepless nights in clubs, but Le Grand To Do still has house music at its heart. The album is inspired by New Age music, meditation and veganism, but it's more fun than that might make it sound, even in its most reflective moments. Offermann's vocals can echo the sort of banal platitudes you'd find in a self-help philosophy book, but they're never preachy and never dominate the music.
Le Grand To Do's New Age influences come through in synths like the one on "Embrace The Condition," which sounds stuck on the sort of setting a space rock band like Ozric Tentacles might have used. With its crisp beats and bubbling electronics, that track is like electro in a floatation tank, echoing the hip-hop Offermann used to produce. Same goes for the quasi-boom-bap of "I Wonder." But most of Le Grand To Do is a mellower version of the house and techno he's put out on his own WHITE label and imprints like Aim, firmly in the vein of 2012 debut LP Do Pilots Still Dream Of Flying?
Offermann can be imaginative with only a few ingredients, having restricted his studio setup to "cheap" drum machines and synths. He only rarely throws in unexpected elements—like the distorted guitar at the end of "Carol's Howl"—and prefers instead to get a range of moods and textures out of basic 4/4 rhythms, punchy basslines, feathery synths and vocal loops. There's deep, early-hours house on "Koleu," hypnotic techno on "Banunas," ticklish electronic grooves on "Les Doors" and slo-mo shuffling on "Stormy Past." Then there's the tender piano on "Understandable," which ends the album on a melancholy note. Le Grand To Do is not much of a progression from its predecessor, but that dreamy, melodic house sound is still just as good for cutting a rug as sitting on one.
A1 August '14
A2 Find Yourself
A3 Carol's Howl
B2 Embrace The Condition
C1 Les Doors
C2 I Wonder
D2 Stormy Past