Saturday, August 15, 2009

Flavour Has No Name - Static (So Long, Ruins! II)

Flavour Has No Name

City Centre Offices.

SCQ Rating: 43%

A few years ago, I couldn’t have admitted this but here goes: I have a limit when it comes to German electronica. For years I consumed as much as I could find, acting as a completist for my favourite artists and basically going nuts on Boomkat. Well, if Flavour Has No Name stands for anything in my collection, it’s as a turning-point for an aging obsession and proof that Boomkat can take their hyperbole too far.

Compared to Hanno Leichtmann’s more recent Re: Talking About Memories, which experimented with live instrumentation to great effect, Flavour Has No Name is incredibly sterile. And while such cold production might work had Static sought to compose a work of longform mood-pieces, this is a pop record… one packed with melodies that fight to break Static’s frozen writer’s block. ‘Turn On, Switch Off’, for example, is an eloquently arranged track of romantic harp flourishes and shimmering beats yet its five plus minutes are wasted on Valerie Trebeljahr’s (of Mum) four-word refrains. Similarly static is ‘Inside Your Heaven’; while considered a classic by Boomkat, this opener extends through a syrupy, late-night R&B vibe without so much as a sudden turn or build-up. Even Flavour Has No Name’s better offerings, like ‘Ghost Boy’, which finds Ronald Lippok (of Tarwater) delivering rock-solid vocals, lacks any surprises to elevate it beyond its ruminating first minute. City Centre Offices continues to release wonderful work (check out Miwon’s latest, if you doubt it), but this album proves that even the best labels have its share of mediocre releases. So long, ruins!

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