- Traumprinz drops three new melancholy mixes, but only one lives up to his standards.
- In a world poisoned by irony and division, Traumprinz's earnestness is a balm. His DJ Healer alias has only underlined the sentimental aspects: religious themes, soaring melodies, hopeful vocal samples. It's undeniably beautiful, affecting and, as Will Lynch noted in his review of the first DJ Healer LP, "an utterly uncool pureness of sincerity." Traumprinz followed that up with last year's Lost Lovesongs mixes, which felt a little too sappy. Most of his recent work has come in the format of all-originals mixes, one of which, Planet Lonely, ranks up there with his best albums. Traumprinz returns with three new DJ Healer mixes in the middle of a crisis, just in time to cheer you up. Only now he sounds dejected too.
A famously press-shy artist, Traumprinz speaks through the vocal samples in his lyrics, which are typically religious, or at least focused on redemption or hope. On the Krieg Der Welten trilogy, however, they take a dark turn. This time the voices repeat things like, "I thought the dreams would go away," and "His brain is infected with doubts." The most memorable bit is from Jim Jarmusch's Coffee And Cigarettes: "I feel so divorced from the world." The prompt? A question: "Are you alright?" The answer? "No."
Despite these heavy themes, Krieg Der Welten feels guarded. The mixes are around 35 minutes each, focusing on a specific sound in favour of the all-ranging beauty of past mixes. Der Traum (The Dream) offers the woozy broken beat most associated with DJ Healer, while Ins Herz Der Dinge Lauschen (Listen To The Heart Of Things) is made of beautiful, lovesick ambient and Die Wüste (The Desert) stitches together post-rock vignettes made with guitar and synthesizer. The swinging drums of Der Traum will appeal most to fans looking for the DJ Healer sound, with the stirring chords and poignant vocal hooks.
But Der Traum and Die Wüste are unmixed, each song bumping into the next like a mixtape, often cutting off before they make an impression. If last year's Golden Baby EPs presented a rare average Traumprinz record, then these two mixes are average DJ Healer. Only Ins Herz Der Dinge Lauschen lives up to past work, a masterful 35 minutes of orchestral melancholy, arcane bleeps, ocean waves and relaxing effects with an ASMR level of intimacy. It's here you'll find the heart-tugging refrains of, say, DJ Metatron, the first time since the that last DJ Healer album that we get the real Traumprinz feels.
Traumprinz has serendipitous timing. The DJ Healer and Prime Minister Of Doom diptych dropped on Easter Sunday, marking the artist's return after an absence. Krieg Der Welten comes in the midst of a pandemic, a reassuring event among much uncertainty. There's a nagging feeling that these are Traumprinz off-cuts, or at least unfinished ideas, which is disappointing from one of the most commanding figures in dance music. He's at his best when he connects to his audience without irony, detachment or restraint, which is why Ins Herz Der Dinge Lauschen works where the others don't. It's part of a catalogue of special online mixes that ranks among the most important electronic music of the last decade.
01. Die Wüste
02. Der Traum
03. Ins Herz Der Dinge Lauschen