Roman Flügel – All The Right Noises

9

Since launching his career out of Frankfurt in the early 90s on imprints like Väth’s Harthouse and Klang electronik, Roman Flügel has become quite the staple in international electronic music.

Yet, his journey to where he’s arrived today has by no means been straight forward. Flügel has released music under seven solo and nine groups alias’s, from projects like Acid Jesus, Alter Ego, Eight Miles High, to Sensorama and Solent Green (all exploring music from jazz to techno and everything in between). His CV is totally huge – the consistent thread prevalent in all of Flügel’s music though is its sense of independence, its ability to cut corners, twist and dance between genres.

Whether it was the energetic, bleeping electro tinted hit ‘Rocker’ as Alter Ego in 2004, or his eponymous pumping single ‘Ghet’s Noch’ in 2005, or even his ‘Happiness Is Happening‘ LP in 2014 whose rich, emotionally charged ‘Wilkie’ chimed with fans worldwide, Roman Flügel has come to be known as a non-conformist: subverting expectations to make way for his own cutting edge, innovative, and original music.

Now returning to David Lieske, Pawel Kominek and Peter Kersten’s Dial Records, Roman Flügel offers ‘All The Right Noises’, a charming pot of ten hard-to-define originals that hop from ambient to techno to psychedelic and the avant-garde.

Where ‘Happiness Is Happening’ showed a dynamic picture of Flügel’s music, dressed in energy, ‘All The Right Noises’ shows a much more commanding tone. Immediately, ‘Fantasy’ feels like we’ve arrived somewhere new: piano melodies beam with a delicate airiness but rooted in sturdy chords. It acts as a signal that the music on display will take a mature, self-assured form – which is pretty much accurate forcast for the rest of the album.

‘The Mighty Suns’ follows with billowing synth echoes underpinned by jittering drum programming, nodding to Flügel’s earlier work, while ‘Dead Idols’ brings vicarious pleasure in its nod to hedonism, the club and a darker techno inspired experience. Bubbling atmospherics alongside a gliding synth hook creates what I think is almost certain to be a future classic.

‘Nameless Lake’ comes next and offers pastoral soundscapes before a high-octane bass pulse pushes back the track into the open. Next up is ‘Warm and Dewy’, abound with beeps, clangs, and swirling sound fx that all blend together to give the song what its name suggests: a visceral serving of ‘warm’ and ‘dewy’ sounds, showing Flügel’s production skills are simply unrivalled.

Briefly, ‘Dust’ pushes electro-inspired beats and melodies reminiscent of Flügel’s earlier projects like Alter Ego, but ‘Believers’, perhaps acting as an interlude, provides celestial bells and earth-shattering sound design, glued in place by mesmerising piano chords. ‘All The Right Noises’ carries things on, but with fiery melodies, elastic percussion and thudding low ends, almost a concoction of everything we’ve heard so far in what feels like a fine demonstration of Flügel’s talents as a true composer and sound-artist.

‘Planet Zorg’ blends crisp instrumentation with emotion-stirring propellor-blade hooks, creating a deafeningly beautiful wall of sound. ‘Life Tends To Come And Go’ concludes ‘All The Right Noises’. Sprawling sounds dance around one-another before a rumbling drone gives way to those delicate piano melodies Flügel has been toying with throughout the LP. Like many of the tunes on offer, the music is immersive and evocative, built from real-world experience. Here, the meaning of the words in the title take on a distinct musical shape: as swelling sound design in a state of flux so as to represent ‘life’ and its hand of experiences that we all, by virtue of being human, share.

There is a tendency with music so wide in scope to end up almost nebulous and without direction. Yet Flügel’s ability and commitment to this vivid and cinematic music trumps any criticism. Like a revered sculptor or actor, Flügel steps up and shows he is the master of his craft.