Dominik Eulberg

Flora und Fauna

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Flora und Fauna looks more like a '50s recording of nature sounds than a techno record. That's probably because Dominik Eulberg is a nature boy -- a park ranger in his native Germany, in fact. One might expect someone with his background to go off the grid, grow a long beard, and play Pink Floyd's "Grantchester Meadows" on a lute in the middle of a forest. Eulberg runs against that stereotype since he's a techno producer, and he differs from his music-making brethren by titling his productions after exotic creatures rather than obscure architects. The bizarre thing is that the titles he assigns to his tracks tend to match up with the sounds quite fittingly. "Der Tanz der Blau-Gruenen Mosaikjungfer," for instance, references the movements made by a colorful dragonfly-looking thing that is apparently "curious but harmless." The track itself carries the most playful melody and buoyant rhythm on the disc. Otherwise, by Traum standards, Eulberg's beats are rigid but are as alluring as any made by the likes of labelmates M.I.A. and Detalles. Though the album is formatted with little concession to a home-listening setting (though opener "Die Invasion der Taschenkrebse" has an effective tension-gathering introduction), its tracks are more functional than DJ tools, containing several elements and bringing in new sounds with most passing minutes. Apart from the relatively immobile IDM of "Der Zug der Kraniche Boten der Veraenderung" and the ambient closer, everything zips by at a quick clip. This appears to be German techno's own Animals. Instead of "Pigs on the Wing," there's "'Brenzlich, Brenzlich,' Dachte der Feuersalamander" ("'Brenzlich Brenzlich,' Thought the Fire Salamander"), and the final track -- with its title so long and so German that it won't be checked here -- sounds like it was recorded in an aviary. The concept the album is wrapped in means that there's no room for previously released standout singles like "Afraid of Seeing Stars" (which contains a sample of Ai's Gigolo Joe) and "Mabuse" (which contains a sample of The Day the Earth Stood Still's Klaatu). These should be sought out as well.

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