- After releases on his Dance Electric imprint, Oliver Huntemann returns to his other offshoot, Confused Recordings out of Hamburg for his new album 'Fieber'. Huntemann's previous releases have garnered support from major players like Tiga and The Hacker, with '50.1' also popping up on Marco Bailey's 'Positive Disorder' compilation. On 'Fieber', Huntemann brings in the vocal talents of Chelonis R. Jones and Michael Skelton on an album which again illustrates his penchant for killer electro and dark house.
The opening track on the album, '37°' is a sinister little number that creeps up on you in almost sycophantic manner. Based around a morphing synth that tends to almost fizz in parts, the rhythm confines itself to just the bare minimum required to hold the track in place, allowing the dire synth to unsettle us and wreak havoc on the senses. Admittedly, it's a fairly bleak opener but it does serve as a pointer to some of the later tracks on the album for fans of moody, attitudinal electro-house.
'Orient Express' kicks off with a smoother, less abrasive edge. Reduced kick-drums guide us along before snare rolls in the manner of Plastikman's 'Spastik' and further grit is added with a spooky synth. The pattern of the synth has echoes of, dare I say it, oldskool hardcore tracks while tonal bleeps add moments of placidity before that ominous synth and rolling snare reappear, upping the tempo again. A fairly ambiguous piece of music open to different interpretations.
'Cracker Capers' opens with a heavy, thudding rhythm, offset by some irregular noises before the entry of a staccato attack from some 80s, electronic pad-drums. This track, again, makes use of a nominal rhythm, giving the warbling synth full reign to become the lead for the track. A couple of interludes allow some respite but this one has more of a spring in its step and is a little more aimed at the dancefloor.
The shift in tempo is noticeable again on 'Real Love', a DJ-friendly number with vocals by Michael Skelton that add a modest human touch to this piece of digital pop. This has that typical, European, electro feel but with a certain quirk to help it stand out from the crowd. Lots of synth-action, synthetic guitar solos and a beat that jacks, shudders and doubles up on itself, should see this one grabbing some attention on the floor and finding favour with electro-house jocks.
Moving on, 'Flesh' lays down a housey rhythm but wait.....dark synths lead us on to a more electro route again as an impudent feel, apparent on all the tracks thus far, takes centre stage again. What is different about this track, is a mysterious section 3 minutes in that whispers secrecy with its reverbating riff and almost beckons the listener to follow unknowingly. Any brief ideas we had about taking a little breather from the arcane electro of Mr.Huntemann are quickly shattered as we get down and dirty again with more of the same. The same little riff pops up just before we close out with some delayed beats.
A slightly, different angle to Huntemann's production here as 'Scary Love' opens with off-kilter beats. Featuring almost vocodered vocals from Chelonis R. Jones and some scantily used other elements this is an interesting piece which has a less-is-more feel to it. It's an off-the-beaten-path number indeed but the chic vocals really make the track and it has an anomalous texture, which I found very alluring.
Arpeggiated, chiming, tones on 'French Fries' are quickly offset by a sick electro soundclash of jacking beats and another warbling synth. Some neat touches and loads of effects give this track a standout feel before a real cacophany gets underway; the synth breaking into fragments sounding like someone cutting sheet metal with an angle-grinder. This will one definitely cause a stir on any club floor and should find its way into a lot of DJ sets.
Finally we come to the 'Bastard' of the bunch, a head-nodding number with a shift in bassline tone and lots of skippy hi-end that immediately gives you the impression that it's going somewhere. An untamed synth maraudes using the same offset in tone as the bassline before an arpeggio joins in to compound the signature. This one will rock it up on many a floor and seems to have all the ingredients to send dancers into fits of freaky body-popping. I could imagine Tiga, The Hacker et al giving this plenty of play as it has a brazen, dirty, electro-pop vibe to it. Definitely the peak-time track of the album, bringing it to a close on a real high.
An interesting sprinkling of electro-house from Oliver Huntemann makes 'Fieber' a worthwhile listen especially if you're fond of the European brand of electro sweeping club floors at present. I must admit though that this album took a couple of listens before I could find its merits. The first four tracks seem a little formulaic and trapped in a stereotyped straight-jacket with no real impetus or edge. However the album does get better as it progresses and Huntemann shows some diversity by pulling together different strands in his production skills.