Release Date: Feb 14, 2012
Record label: Kompakt
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
The highly mutable Terranova, who emerged in the 1990s as an eclectically funky, pan-European trip-hop/hip-hop/techno collective, reinvented themselves for the second decade of the 21st century after a lengthy absence from the scene, signing with Cologne kingpin Kompakt for a pair of well-received 2011 12"s, and following with Hotel Amour, their fifth full-length and first since 2004. Still essentially the province of Berlin-born, Paris-based producer/DJ Fetisch, now with the Ghanaian-German &ME as his primary co-conspirator, Terranova remain as restless and collaboration-prone as ever, although the stylistic blueprint has shifted quite a bit. Basically everything on Hotel Amour could be described as house of some sort, and although there's a range from the title track's swanky French coos and jazzy vibraphone plinks to the sparser, tech-y throwback of "I Want to Go Out," to the murky, clattering noir dub of "Take My Hand," it's all pretty smooth, sleek and, for the most part, fairly subdued.
Paris-dwelling DJ and producer Fetisch, who makes up one half of Terranova with the Berlin-based house and techno-oriented artist &ME, could no doubt spin a yarn or two about pivotal events in the history of club culture. If you're looking for someone who's been there, done that, and has all the scars to prove it, Fetisch is your man. He's spun records at Danceteria and Tunnel in New York; recorded at Conny Plank's legendary Cologne studio; found himself at the epicenter of the original illegal rave boom in England; and worked with Manuel Göttsching, Tricky, and Ari-up from the Slits.
Fetisch Bergmann and Marco Meister have both been permanent fixtures on the European scene since the mid-'90s, mostly as behind-the-scene producers. They first made their name via trip-hop-tinged and breakbeat-ish studio jobs for the forgotten likes of Cath Coffey, Ballistic Affair and Copyright and with more high-profile collaborations with people like Tricky. As Terranova, they developed a more personal kind of downtempo electronica with an urban twist (a sound epitomized by their 1998 DJ Kicks compilation).
The fifth album from Berlin-based Terranova, Hotel Amour sees a move into more classic dance territory, leaving behind the downtempo style of some of their past work. The album features several recent singles, including "So Strong" (with vocals from Khan), "I Want To Go Out" and standout track "Question Mark," featuring the dulcet tones of WhoMadeWho's Tomas Hoffding. A marriage of vocal house, disco and pop, it's an immediately accessible album with several decent dance floor stompers.