Release Date: Apr 30, 2013
Record label: Kompakt
Genre(s): Electronic, Techno, Club/Dance, Tech-House
The Cologne-based duo of George Conrad and Marius Bubat, AKA COMA, complain about the restraints of making music purely for the floor. "We decided to do a pop album about club culture" they said about In Technicolor, their debut album. I shudder a little when I hear this kind of talk, simply because at this stage, that very dichotomy between the dance floor and pop is a false one.
The blithe, sometimes daft spirit of Coma's 2008-2013 run of EPs for Firm, Kompakt, and other labels remains on In Technicolor, the duo's debut album. Marius Bubat and Georg Conrad, assisted by an assorted cast who visited their Cologne, Germany studio -- including vocalists Ada and Edi Winarni, and a handful of instrumentalists -- have made one of the Kompakt label's more entertaining and less serious albums. It begins with a merry-go-round melody on the opening " Hoooooray" and concludes with an open-hearted thumper, "T.
On paper, Coma's affiliation with Kompakt looks like a no-brainer, as the duo, growing up in Cologne, Germany, weaned themselves on their hometown label's rich stable of long-form minimalists. But once the listener delves deeper into Coma's debut full-length, In Technicolor, it's apparent that these Krautpoppers' vision of techno extends further than just the Rhine. Working off the same skeletal, strident beats that defined their slew of twelve-inches, In Technicolor shows the duo blending and layering rounded-edge rhythms and elastic grooves, giving the slinky "Maybach" and blocky "Out of Control" a gossamer sheen.
Cologne's Kompakt label has been bringing out the big guns in 2013 to celebrate its 20th anniversary, easily restaking its rare case for continued relevancy at what, in dance terms, is a virtually senescent age. The debut album from Marius Bubat and Georg Conrad is a good summation of the imprint's appeal, cleaving tightly to traditional Kompakt qualities: playfulness (the stop-start Les Dilettantes, complete with handclaps and birdsong-mimicking arrangement), prettiness (from the impeccably cut-up vocals of My Orbit to every swish and whoosh of the lushly textured synths that provide the album's gauzy underpinnings) and the kind of intense pleasure that results from perfectly interwoven melodies. Out of Control – the most straightforward dancefloor number here – pairs jaunty house piano with a motorik bassline; Maybach swings louchely along to horns and a casually sleazy vocal.