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Album Review

After Visions of Blah was released, Thomas Fehlmann went nearly two years without issuing any solo material on Kompakt. However, he was as occupied as ever during this period, working with the Orb, producing the excellent downtempo/abstract hip-hop album Lowflow for Plug Research, and continuing to cross the planet with his laptop sets. Less reliant on previously released 12" material than Visions of Blah, Honigpumpe — or "Honeypump," an homage to German artist Joseph Beuys, who used honey to symbolize social force and the transfer of thoughts and ideas — nonetheless uses the 12" releases Little Big Horn (2004) and Emo Pack (2006) as its foundation. Like Visions of Blah, this album supplies a combination of dubby techno, slightly gnarled shuffle-tech, and open-sky ambient. With rare exception, it maintains a tone that is relatively brighter than Visions while leaving the impression that the beats are lighter and a step more swift. The intent to make a slightly softer set of tracks geared even more toward home listening seems apparent in "T.R.N.T.T.F.," a gentle reworking of Emo Pack's "The Road," where the beat — which originally carried a chunky, prodding heft — is softened into a cushiony thump, while the harmonica sampled from Canned Heat's "On the Road Again" is transformed into a specter. Even the burrs protruding from "Dusted with Powder," one of the most aggressive tracks, seem made of nothing rougher than felt. Those who want some more of the steady Fehlmann chug, full of glinting accents over stern dub-techno rhythms, should be left satisfied with the likes of "100 Bäume," "Schaum," "Little Big Horn," "Bienenkönigin," and "Arbeitstitle." All of it is deeply pleasurable, and most of it maintains an amiable disposition while sidestepping both silliness and cuteness. Not an easy trick for a techno producer to pull. (Note: most of the track titles reference Beuys, indirectly including the English titles of the last two tracks, which reference Scritti Politti — Scritti's Green Gartside also admired Beuys' work, albeit from a strictly visual standpoint, and referenced it himself in "Wood Beez.")

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Soooooo chill it hurts

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Born: 1957 in Zurich, Switzerland

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

An important man in the German electronic scene, Zurich-born musician and producer Thomas Fehlmann brought several diverse acts to Germany to record and collaborate. Beginning in the early '80s, his group Palais Schaumburg fused dance rhythms to the experimentalist flair of '70s German rock. A Detroit-Berlin cultural exchange through the Tresor label originally brought Underground Resistance to Germany, and Fehlmann did his part by recording separately with Blake Baxter, Eddie Flashin' Fowlkes, and...
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Honigpumpe, Thomas Fehlmann
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