Christian Kleine

Beyond Repair

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Berlin transplant Christian Kleine throws his hat into the ring of home-listening electronica with chilly but inviting results. Beyond Repair, his melancholy, beat-driven full-length debut for City Centre Offices, sounds like it was made in and for seclusion. Sweeping sadness coaxed from synthetic strings approaches dramatic proportions without reaching heavy-handedness. Ringing keyboard tones place the mind in a sleepy, relaxed daze. Beats and breaks, with a pronounced nod toward early-'90s hip-hop, land with confident authority. At its best, Beyond Repair makes for an imaginary film score, all the while failing to slip off into the background of the listener's perception. The closing "By the Lake" is a mini-epic that bundles everything that is good about the record into one sweet package: a narcotic swell of various keyboards floats throughout and a steady shuffle of a beat comes in after a couple minutes, only to dissipate and surrender to the foreboding atmosphere. Labeling this record as IDM would be limiting, though so would be calling it electronica or trip-hop. These song-based instrumentals are actually closer to pop than any of the other possible pigeonholes. Regardless of where it fits, it's one that creates its own little world.

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