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Alter Ego

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Releasing arguably the first album of "listening techno" in Germany (their 1994 self-titled debut) and building on the style with subsequent releases, Roman Flügel and Jörn Elling-Wuttke are the exception that proves the rule in boom-boom dominated Deutschland. Better known and revered in England, where dance-based electronic music of a home-listening stripe has been the norm for nearly a decade, Alter Ego have also managed to influenced countrymen and labelmates such as Hardfloor and Yokota to move away from Germany's increasingly commercial trance/techno scene and into headier, more experimental climes. The pair signed to Sven Väth's trance-dominated Harthouse label in 1993, after releasing a self-titled full-length on their own Klang Elektronik (under the name Acid Jesus) which caught Väth's attention. Flügel was a jazz drummer prior to his work with Wuttke, and the pair met in the late '80s as a result of the snowballing German trance scene. They began producing tracks in the studio Wuttke was piecing together, and had an immediate hit as Acid Jesus with their first single, "Move My Body."

By the time they'd signed with Harthouse, however, Flügel and Wuttke were no longer interested in pursuing the club side of dance-based electronic music. Turned off by the German trance and techno scenes' steady commercialization, Flügel and Wuttke sought to innovate German techno out of redundancy by diversifying. Originally slated for release on Harthouse ambient sublabel Recycle or Die, Alter Ego got a main label release instead, and together with the subsequent Decoding the Hacker Myth, succeeded in slowing the pace of German techno and adding a cachet of new influences (U.K. ambient techno outfits such as B12 and the Black Dog, hip-hop and electro, jazz and soul). Decoding the Hacker Myth was reissued in 1996, coupled with a bonus disc of remixes by the likes of Luke Slater, Two Lone Swordsmen, and Matt "Dr. Rockit" Herbert's Wishmountain project. Flügel has also released an EP and full-length as Ro70 on David Moufang's Source label, and both Flügel and Wuttke continue to release tracks under such side-project pseudonyms as Sensorama, Primitive Painter, and Eight Miles High for Ladomat, R&S, and Klang. They also worked on production for Väth's Contact LP.

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'90s, '00s