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Unreality

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Album Review

Trickski's full-length debut works on a note of tension that's far from new: stark coldness of beats and overall punch with a fleck of slippery warm organicism; tech house almost summed up as both descriptive term and, potentially, cliche. It's accomplished enough in the vein, however, making the intonations of the title, however robotic, on "Beginning" ease well from cold punch to funk sample breakdown. "Slowstens" starts Unreality on a simultaneously jazzy and stark note, piano against an early-'80s, ominous disco throb, and if the album as a whole maintained that general strength then the Berlin act would be on a roll. Still, a number of songs feel more like engaging experiments than anything more remarkable, pleasant enough listening like "Wilderness" and the accomplished, slow motion filter disco of "Love Song" aside. Occasional short pieces like the appropriately titled "The Dub Interlude" truly are experiments, brief but good natured, but underscore the somewhat stop-start nature of Unreality as a whole. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the full vocal collaborations on the album give the greatest sense of an individual mark, however secondhand as a result. Ernesto's "Good Time to Pray" has a standard enough house beat against a shuddering, nervous backdrop, elegant and odd, allowing the singer's yearning performance to sound all the more desperate. Irfane Khan-Acito's "Love's a Beat" is enjoyable enough, while Fritz Kalkbrenner's "Without You" is slick, passionate minimalism that breaks into a bigger arrangement as it goes, with Kalkbrenner's notable singing voice in fine form.

Unreality, Trickski
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