- Records like Roman Flügel's 1995 show why the '90s were so exciting for house and techno. Blueprints were less established, so producers were more creative, unable to trawl through, say, YouTube for tracks to emulate. Scenes existed in relative isolation, which meant exciting sounds grew from close-knit circles of friends and collaborators, many linked to specific scenes. Few were more influential than Frankfurt's in the mid-'90s. Roman Flügel, then a little-known artist, was churning out tracks by the month, many harder and faster than the delicate sounds he releases today. Recent years have seen European minimalists look to this early period for inspiration, but its originality is tough to match.
1995, which collects three unreleased tunes from that era, finds Flügel in a typically cosmic headspace, putting a Frankfurt twist on the Daniel Bell school of minimal techno with three abstract but groovy tunes. Released by HardWorkSoftDrink, a Frankfurt collective that counts Flügel as one of their heroes, it's less about melody and more about messing with your head. "Bibo," the EP's longest track, lands closest to Daniel Bell's technoid funk, thanks to its elastic bassline and oscillating synth. But the atmosphere is totally Flügel's, thanks to recurring chords that give this burrowing track a sentimental touch. It hits the artful balance of rhythm and melody that Flügel has further honed in the decades since.
"Party House" has a similar mood. Its low-end is sparser and drums more persistent, chugging with an easy-going groove while bleeps dart around the mix. A stuttering drum tool with a whistling synth and shuffling percussion, "Smell Flashback" is Flügel at his headiest. Where his modern hits—like the melody-rich "How To Spread Lies" and "Wilkie"—aim for the heart, 1995 is for the mind.
B2 Smell Flashback