The Modernist

Kangmei

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Jörg Burger, one of the German dance-pop community's most undervalued and low-key producers, kept his Modernist alias silent for several years between the release of Explosion and Kangmei. During that time, stray compilation tracks trickled out under other pseudonyms, including a half-dozen of some of his best work as Triola (beat-free feather-force ambient) and Geometric Farms (beat-driven glistening ambient). Those glimpses of what could be -- using either alias, Burger could have spawned a full-length album that would eclipse the magnificence of Burger/Ink's Las Vegas -- but Burger's collaboration with Wolfgang Voigt, Kangmei, appears to be a disappointment. Had Burger not taken this patented style, based on persistent Giorgio Moroder-informed rhythms with prickly synth chords and dub fissures run blissfully amok, to its just-before-completely-milked end? Fortunately, it turns out that he hadn't. The traits that made the Modernist sound a singular one years ago have indeed returned. Those impossibly stripped but full-sounding rhythms are meatier than ever; in fact, they're practically plump in comparison, with none of the agility sacrificed. The arrangements are more varied and less susceptible to listener fatigue. Burger has built a larger set of rhythmic motifs to utilize, and he also works in guitar figures -- like the one that could have been lifted from an early New Order record in "When We Were Golden" -- with greater unforced ability. Vocals fall right into the fabric as well. Neither "Kangmei, Pt. 1 & 2" nor "Prozac Europe" are quite as euphoric as Autobianchi's "All Around" -- Burger's contribution to the Total 4 compilation -- but they provide another welcome facet to the Modernist sound. With all that said, the apex of Kangmei just might be "Silicon Minor," an unabashed floor burner with tingling ringlets of rapid-tapping keyboards. So perhaps it's best to quit worrying about where Burger goes with each successive release -- just as long as he keeps releases as strong as this coming.

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