- Congratulations, Traum – making it to ten years and 100 releases is no mean feat in this business. Congratulations also for not celebrating yourself too ostentatiously: Traum 100 comes not as a monster multipack complete with the requisite booklet, label mix or any other sort of self-endorsing splendour; it’s simply a humble single CD made up of new tracks by favoured Traum artists. As birthday parties go, it’s also an exclusive one: two of the best tracks on the eleven track CD— Broker/Dealer’s ‘Midnight’ and Gabriel Ananda’s ‘Lila Pause’—don’t even make it onto the vinyls.
Quality over quantity then, and luckily many of the tracks are outstanding. The roster is drawn from old Traum friends such as Ananda, Fairmont and Process (aka Steve Barnes), as well as newer faces such as Super Flu, Bukaddo & Fishbeck and Russia’s Moonbeam. Somehow bridging them all is Thomas Brinkmann – hardly a newcomer, but not quite an old hand either since his only release for Traum was the mixed and reshaped Tour de Traum set from 2004.
Traum 100 is a set of emotional vignettes with each track germinating from its own little seed, almost as if the artists were saving some of the best work for the birthday party. San Francisco’s Broker/Dealer effort is one of the most outstanding tracks in the set, and one of the more emotional. The tone of ‘Midnight’ straddles the happy/sad divide beautifully, poised between the melancholy shoegazer techno of Slowdive’s 5 EP and the suaver dancefloor side of Traum or Kompakt. Eulberg’s cut is similarly nostalgic – the title translates as “There is still morning dew sticking to your hair”. Slightly more mischievous than melancholy, the melodies are all chiming joy over a more solid bass beat. ‘City Zen’ by Process is in this same retrospective, airy mood, somehow capturing the light of the end of the night with butterfly-like melodic trills.
Elsewhere there is hedonism and less overt tenderness. Bukkador & Fishbeck’s tribute ‘Decade’ is a dub-inflected minimal stomper that drills and rattles between gears and pressures, while Minilogue continue on from the big beefiness of their Space EP with a deep and resonating track brimming with progressive analogue muscle. Gabriel Ananda’s track ‘Lila Pause’ is also intensely danceable and is killing for its own 12” release. Its melodies are complicated and infectious, while the construction is driving and ruthless like a beautifully elicited trance breakdown without the cheese and distilled through with heady ambient tides. Simply fantastic.
The remaining tracks are more of a mixed bag, not in terms of quality but style. Brinkmann’s ‘Aleks in Love’ is more maxErnst than When Horses Die with electro-funk bass riffs smoothed over by repeating waves of nervous drones and rushed notes. Eulberg and Reinhold’s remix of Jesse Somfay’s “The Days of My Youth…” sticks with the complicated electronics of the original and ends up more bleepy and clever than danceable. Super Flu’s well-named ‘Sunset Handjob’ is a good companion to the Bukkador & Fishbeck cut, but it’s a lot sparser and direct, although less engaging for it. Moonbeam continue to work their intriguing half-improvised sound on “You Can Hear Them”, but despite the details and beautiful percussion, it doesn’t quite lock into the deep zone. Finally, Fairmont’s contribution is a glistening electro-tinged glamour track that seems perfect for the beginning of the night, brazenly chasing a bass riff to higher ground.
This is a great ego-less set with plenty of killers. Here’s to the next ten and more.
01 Broker/Dealer - Midnight
02 Dominik Eulberg - Es Klebt Noch Morgentau in Deinem Haar
03 Bukaddor & Fishbeck - Decade
04 Minilogue - Carnival
05 Thomas Brinkmann - Aleks in Love
06 Jesse Somfay - The Days of My Youth Ended with Broken Bottles (Dominik Eulberg & Riley Reinhold Rmx)
07 Super Flu - Sunset Handjob
08 Moonbeam - You Can Hear Them
09 Gabriel Ananda - Lila Pause
10 Fairmont - Down the Rabbit Hole
11 Process - City-zen