Marius Lauber’s debut album is in itself a feat of many surprises. The Cologne, Germany-based artist, who records and produces under the moniker Roosevelt, takes measures to make sure that this initial self-titled offering feels far from conventional, yet remains accessible to those who crave new sounds. Upon first listen of the self-titled debut, Roosevelt’s origin should not surprise many diehards of electronic music, as the genre is very much rooted in the land of the Rhine, with forerunners of synthpop such as Kraftwerk and Neu! both hailing from the country.
You can probably be forgiven if the German people are not the first thing that come to mind when you think of slick, sexy tropical synth beats. But the efforts of Roosevelt (born Marius Lauber) to export this type of summery disco from the Rhineland is not born out of contrarianism. No, the truth is that one glance at the cover and just a few seconds of listening reveal a deeply rooted adoration for the danceable jams of yesteryear.
Once tools used to create "futuristic" soundscapes, it's increasingly hard to separate synthesizer and drum machine sounds from the early 1980s. That's in no small part because of artists like M83, Skylar Spence and Roosevelt — the moniker of German songwriter/producer Marius Lauber — who keep using them to update and modernize the woozy, hazy hooks of that era by lacing them with saxophones, reverb and other clear signifiers. It's Epcot Centre pop music: nostalgia for another generation's vision of the future.Roosevelt's self-titled debut LP is worth the ride, though.
By any reasonable measure, summer 2016 is turning out to be a challenging time for people seeking even a modicum of contentment with the world. From our social media feeds to the 24-hour news cycle, we’re being fed a steady diet of abject misery, and it’s beginning to take its toll on even the most trivial aspects of our culture. Take for example, an annual ritual pop music fans typically heartily anticipate: The Song of the Summer, when one hit single above all others is crowned as the inescapable feel-good chart-topper of the year.
August can be a difficult time. It’s the end of summer. People are either already plaintive at the thought of the nights drawing in, or struggling to tack some meaning on to the dwindling balmy evenings. As society resumes and the holidays stop, it’s only natural to feel a little blue ….
Roosevelt is Marius Lauber, who leant the sensibilities of both his indie rock background and the techno scene of his adopted base of Cologne, Germany to his debut single, "Sea," released in 2012. That song, with its grooving, summery flow, brought him to the attention of labels. The tune appears here on his eponymous Roosevelt debut, released by City Slang and Greco-Roman, which is co-owned by Joe Goddard of Hot Chip.
We’ve begun to take everything too seriously. Nothing means nothing anymore. Everything means something. Our actions are probably just a front for an ulterior motive, and our words were probably chosen with character defamation in mind. Jokes no longer exist in the way they once did, and ….
For the past six or so months I have been pestering my friends to listen to the music of Marius Lauber, a young German signed to Greco-Roman who, under the title Roosevelt, pulls elements from disco, funk, Balearic house and electro and, drenching them in rich synth swathes, creates upbeat and contagious pop music. Like a confluence of Friendly Fires and Washed Out, Roosevelt’s first offerings from the 2013 EP Elliot ticked all the boxes, from the dark but euphoric pulsing rhythms of “Elliot” to the spicy bass line on “Montreal”, all with Lauber’s melancholic vocals looming over cavernously. Last year’s “Hold On / Night Moves” single was even better, capturing a palpable sense of the nocturnal energy of Lauber’s performances and DJ sets around Germany and the rest of Europe.