Release Date: Feb 10, 2017
Record label: Kompakt
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Club/Dance
Under the name Vermont, Danilo Plessow (aka Motor City Drum Ensemble) and Marcus Worgull (aka Innervisions) come off more like a longstanding duo than a new collaboration. Their underappreciated 2014 self-titled debut crafted a merger of sounds and sensibilities that strayed from the duo's respective dance-floor friendly techno, and on their followup, Vermont II, Plessow and Worgull stray further from their individual personalities, providing 13 new tracks that rely heavily on their communal influences. Tracks like opener "Norderney" (featuring Kaap on muted guitar), the yacht-electronic viber "Ufer" and the Krautrock-indebted closer "Unruh" aren't wildly dissimilar in sound and feel, as Vermont keep things sonically tempered and reined in.
No one could accuse Vermont's 2014 self-titled album of unseemly haste. Slow and almost tentative, that record was the result of a series of "loose jam sessions" by two artists better known for their house productions: Innervisions mainstay Marcus Worgull and Danilo Plessow, AKA Motor City Drum Ensemble. On their second album, they seem in no hurry to change that approach.
There is a peace to Vermont’s II, but not a listlessness. While it’s tempting to get caught up in the background-ready qualities of this very ambient album, it’s just as fulfilling to pay attention to it, to see where it goes and how it gets there. In every track there is a lot going on, and while it never begs for attention, II thrives on little intricacies punctuated by the occasional grand gesture.
The first album from Vermont, Danilo Plessow and Marcus Worgull's ambient dalliance, was one of electronic music's more pleasant surprises in 2014. Upon the completion of their self-titled album, the two producers resumed their standard separate activities, but they eventually reunified to deliver a second album for the Kompakt label. Like their first album together, this sequel is made of sedate and melodic instrumentals made predominantly with analog synthesizers like the ARP Odyssey, Moog Prodigy, and Sequential Circuits Prophet VS.
It continues to be a long, dark winter for new ambient music. Warm fuzzies are in short supply; doubt and discontent prevail. Think of Huerco S. 's lo-fi churn, Sarah Davachi 's stark drones, or Egyptrixx 's battered futurism. But there are some glorious summers hiding in Suzanne Kraft's recent ….
A s Motor City Drum Ensemble, Danilo Plessow plays euphoric house and disco DJ sets that prompt strangers to write their numbers on each other in sweaty eyebrow pencil; Marcus Worgull, meanwhile, produces perkily melodic techno. But for their collaborative project, Vermont, they retreat from the dancefloor to a candlelit mancave full of vintage synths, where they indulge in a spot of ruminative ambience. Almost devoid of percussion, it's pared back to just a few elements: gruff bass notes padding about in their socks, warm mid-tones rubbing your temples, plucked Göttsching-esque strings emerging from a hammock.
Sometimes, chillout music should be formulaic. Brian Eno's idea of creating "audio wallpaper" isn't to be sniffed at: wallpaper can be very, very beautiful and create a sense of luxury. But formulaic can mean bland, too, and Marcus Worgull of Innervisions and Danilo Plessow of Motor City Drum Ensemble's second album as Vermont treads a fine line between the two.