- Anthropologist Marc Augé calls hotels and airports "non-places," where "people are always, and never, at home." As a touring DJ, Roman Flügel probably spends as much time in non-places as clubs or his studio. The Frankfurt-based artist has said that his third album for Dial, All The Right Noises, is very much a product of those surroundings. In particular, it's about the solitary time in hotel rooms between gigs, and that strange mixture of peace and isolation.
Flügel isn't the first musician to explore these non-spaces. His debt to Brian Eno's Music For Airports is plain from the first pensive note of "Fantasy," one of three ambient piano pieces. This also isn't the first time the producer, who is probably still most famous for the screeching techno of "Geht's Noch?," has explored such reflective moods. A disquieting undertow made the title of 2014's Happiness Is Happening feel ambiguous. The title of this year's Verschiebung EP can be translated as "displacement," which perfectly describes the bittersweet sense of transience in All The Right Noises.
Save for the sprightly "Dust," these tracks have more in common with Verschiebung's abstract structures than the burnished contours of Flügel's earlier work or recent records like Monday Brain. Here, beats convey disorientation more than dynamism. Both "Dead Idols" and "Nameless Lake" seem to have rhythms running at different speeds—the effect is like wandering jetlagged through a busy and unfamiliar city. Whereas the melodies in an old tune like "How To Spread Lies" would fill the mix, on tracks like "The Mighty Suns" they're distant and fleeting. If some of All The Right Noises feels unfocused, as Flügel cuts loose from his usual structures, that feeling of dislocation is probably part of the point.
The album reaches its peak with the final three tracks. Both introspective and expansive, the title track's guitar soars and dissipates like a contrail over a bustling beat, before "Planet Zorg" shows up to shake and disintegrate. The shifting balance between drone and piano makes "Life Tends To Come And Go" move subtly between the ominous and optimistic, closing the record on a note of emotional uncertainty. But what's completely clear about All The Right Noises is that it's a highly personal album. In his exploration of them, Flügel makes these non-spaces his own.
02. The Mighty Suns
03. Dead Idols
04. Nameless Lake
05. Warm And Dewy
08. All The Right Noises
09. Planet Zorg
10. Life Tends To Come And Go