Move D & Benjamin Brunn - Let's Call It A Day

  • A vinyl reissue of a 2006 album that preceded a classic.
  • Share
  • Back in 2008, a small but highly engaged corner of electronic music fell in love with an album called Songs From The Beehive, by Move D and Benjamin Brunn. It received a five out of five review on RA, winding up at #2 on the site's year-end list (behind Shed's Shedding The Past), while Pitchfork described it as an "outstanding" album. Listening back 12 years later, there's no need to revise these appraisals. The German pair achieved that rare feat of creating a work that transcended its medium. This wasn't, it seemed, an album made by two men on synths and drum machines, but a sonic organism with its own shape, emotions and traits, a feeling enhanced by Stefan Marx's now-iconic artwork. Looking at the reviews from the time and remembering the word-of-mouth response to the record, it feels curious in retrospect that no one mentioned this was actually David Moufang and Benjamin Brunn's second album together. On the occasion of this vinyl reissue of Let's Call It A Day, which originally came out in 2006 on BineMusic, we also learn that it stems from the same recording sessions as Songs From The Beehive. Perhaps this could have been guessed. Both albums are, at root, dubby, ambient and gently experimental. They share a penchant for muffled kick drums, rain-drop percussion, gossamer synths and reflective atmospherics. They're both almost 100 minutes long, and both feature several tracks that break the ten-minute mark. The differences between the two, however, are subtle but discernible. In revisiting Songs From The Beehive, I'd forgotten how hard it bangs in places. Well, "bang" is a relative term, but tracks like "Honey" and, when it gets around to it, "Love The One You're With," do have a floor-ready bite. There is possibly only one equivalent on Let's Call It A Day. It would be inaccurate to call it Songs' more single-mindedly ambient older brother, but that isn't far wrong. Everybody handles the music at all-back-to-mine afterparties a little differently, but for me Let's Call It A Day seems, fittingly enough, like one for right at the end, the point at which the fun finally has to stop. These long, loop-based compositions are slow and stately, ideally paced for a reentry to reality. The interplay between mellow melodic elements and more honed percussion-like parts tickles your attention, never grabs it. The title track, "C-Sick" and "Magnetically Levitated Train" are concerned with beauty and evoke serene natural vistas, a cognitive cliché that probably shows the right buttons are being pushed. Tracks like "Grains," "Ω" and "A" are also chilled, but crackle with expressive electronics. In all cases, the perception of time bends a little. Does "Magnetically Levitated Train" need to be 17 minutes long? You probably won't even notice. So does Let's Call It A Day cast the same spell as Songs From The Beehive? "On The Magic Bus," the opener, makes a strong suggestion that it might. When Moufang and Brunn collaborated for this album they both already had impressive track records in this field of music, Brunn with his solo albums König Und Drache and Music Under Pin, and Moufang with, among other projects, his work with Pete Namlook, Jonas Grossmann and Jonah Sharp. With "On The Magic Bus" they bring all of this to bear, a near-perfect 12 minutes of ambient, synth-driven house music. The record's calmer passages—"Magnetically Levitated Train," "Let's Call It A Day"—are almost as satisfying, and the more atypical cuts, like "Grains," while nothing truly special, play a role of contrast with the more obviously pretty material. Perhaps a direct comparison isn't necessary here. Better to say that Let's Call It A Day is pretty much an essential companion to a classic.
  • Tracklist
      01. On The Magic Bus 02. Grains 03. A 04. Let's Call It A Day 05. Ω 06. C-Sick 07. Magnetically Levitated Train