Review: Anno Stamm – No One Else (All City)

Berlin based producer Anno Stamm returns to Irish label All City for the stable’s first release of the year, and one that fits in pretty tightly with some of their more recent electronica releases, particularly the Cyclist’s fuzzy, acerbic house, and Herva’s skewed end-of-the-line noodlings.

Even though No One Else seems to grow out of the same left field electronica which provides those other two artists with such fertile soil for their work, it tends towards a slightly more subtle interpretation where the wonkiness and the willfully weird is toned down. Released as a sampler for the forthcoming album, To Gravit And Symmet We Rhyth, No One Else rolls along in a nicely off-kilter haze, avoiding falling too far towards either out-and-out strangeness or colourless left field convention.

That makes it sound a little slight, and to be honest there are a few moments where the music just glides along without enough push and pull for it to really live up to the suspected intentions. Charge It To My Account in particular sounds like several far-too-separated melodic breaks and odd-eyed touches which have little in common save for the stubby mono-twang of the bass and the fairground stomp of the drums. The overall feel is of overly conscious wonkiness rather than anything firmer. Some of those melodic elements are pretty, but they lose something of their impact under the rampant backing of the fat rhythm.

No One Else is further out there but, crucially, far tighter. The groove is similar to that of Charge It To My Account but skanks along with greater effect. The drums themselves are thinner and give plenty of room for everything else to develop into a slightly dark fun house which is equal parts mid-90s Chicago daftness (in spirit if not in sound) and something more akin to a few of the lighter moments that have occasionally cropped up in places like Viewlexx/Murdercapital over the years, a sort of sharp musical slapstick that can be as cruel as it is funny. The spiky bass and the peels of restrained yet unhinged vocals succeed in threading a similarly demented vibe through the whole track.

Everything comes together pretty nicely on Sensing Social Sirens, the lazy splash of colour which closes the record. It’s as far from the knowingness of the other two tracks as you can get, and swaps all of the zanier moments and thick drums from something smaller and more personable. It sprawls over the end of the 12″, doing little more than enjoying its own cuteness, which is actually one of the reasons it works so well; where the other two tracks are full of differing elements uncertain whether they are going to play well with each other Sensing Social Sirens simply cuts everything out except the wash of melody, the serrated hum of the bass and some dusty drums that provide nothing more than a hint of a groove. The result is a warm, fuzzy high that goes nowhere but feels like it’s everywhere. There is something suggestive of Spencer Kincy’s looser, more free-dreaming moments to it, and a goofy charm that ruffles the strength of the chords just right. An EP that starts off lost but brings it all the way home. Eventually.

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