With a few EPs and compilation-album contributions under his belt, André Estermann released his first full-length CD, Balloon, in 2001. Only a few tracks (three or four) were previously available on hard-to-find items. Estermann's approach to electronica eschews the rules of laptop music. The melody prevails -- fragile, buoyant, even cute. Beats are derived from hip-hop or ambient, depending on the track. There is nothing particularly original here, but Estermann knows how to make charming music in the ambient/IDM vein. The synthesizer melody and cut-up drum patterns in "Bith" have club appeal wrapped in a mid-'80s Tangerine Dream tune. The very light title track provides the other peak of the album. Most of the music was obtained without processing, thus the CD sounds surprisingly clean (Aphex Twin-clean) for something released from the underground in the age of laptop electronica. Some may find Balloon a bit cheesy (the new wave, New Order-like feel of "Kit" is an arguable case) or lacking substance, but one cannot dispute the fact that Estermann did a good job.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture