Monday, November 1, 2010

Kilimanjaro - Superpitcher


Kompakt Records.

SCQ Rating: 77%

While his crossover success has been modest, Askel Schaufler, better known as Superpitcher, is highly revered within German techno’s progressive ranks. Besides collaborating with Kompakt co-founder Michael Mayer to form the duo Supermayer, Schaufler’s solo catalog has always prided quality over quantity, allowing only a filter of his most pressing work (remixes for the likes of Dntel and Charlotte Gainsbourg) to find clamoring fans. Kilimanjaro more than makes up for his frugal output; an overly generous full-length that lives up its namesake of Africa’s towering mountain, these eleven tracks show little self-consciousness in how they evolve and consume a vast array of svelte deviations.

If we’re to regard Kilimanjaro as a straight techno record, it’s likely one of the year’s most ambitious with Superpitcher creating his own aural playground, whereby expansiveness flirts at the fringes of decadence. ‘Friday Night’ and ‘Country Boy’ handily live up to club-goers demands with rhythmically tight hooks that ride subtle changes over ten-minute run-times, but they only hint at the convoluted directions Kilimanjaro delves toward. The dub-imprinted ‘Voodoo’ and the eerie guitar-affected ‘Give Me My Heart Back’ don’t shy away from Schaufler’s impressive beats, but they do present a more capable songwriting voice than your typical “It’s Friday night / And I’m not dancing” shtick, one unafraid to probe matters of quirky or personal nature.

When you hear the languid triphop of ‘Who Stole the Sun’ combine with creepy vocals, multilayered and in an unrecognizable language, note that top marks in ambition alone don’t equate to greatness. Uneven and colossal, Kilimanjaro wasn’t designed to be a straight techno record and, although its seventy-plus minutes ensure a few uncertain treks, its scope impresses. Merging his well-crafted techno with paranormal vibes and unsettling vocals, Superpitcher’s unusual generosity here won’t unveil his peculiar approach to dance music. And for that reason alone – namely the odd-ball character infused to these bangers – Schaufler’s fans will remain insatiable for whatever comes next.

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