Various Artists

Teil 1

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Teil 1 is the inaugural release on Leichtes Hören, a label partnership between Kompakt and J. Burger's Popular Organization. A solid compilation of futuristic easy listening, these electronic pop songs should have instant appeal to those who love electronically inclined pop groups (Broadcast, Lali Puna, Saint Etienne), all the while pleasing those hunter-gatherers who grab every release by the two dance labels that made this compilation possible. And if you're already smitten by both sides, this is a fusion that should knock your socks off. A third of the selections feature vocals, with most of those being full-blown songs with verses and a chorus. The best of the bunch is Khan's "Say Good-Bye"; with the forward drive of the light rhythm, a staccato keyboard vamp, and the feathery multi-tracked vocals of -- who's this? -- Julee Cruise (!), it's the perfect backdrop to a closing film scene where a scorned lover breaks free and speeds off on a freshly paved motorway. As for the instrumentals, Burger's own works as Geometric Farms and Triola are just as accessible and melodically dazzling as the vocal tracks, as are contributions from General Acoustic and Turquoise. Burger also plays a role in two other songs that feature vocals (his mitts are all over this disc): A shimmery bounce is given to Contriva's "Next," and Trinkwasser's "Inferno" seems to bridge the decadent sheen of Air with "Careless Whispers"-era Wham. (That's no joke. Or maybe it is.) Not everything falls into a strict pop hole. The Novotones' "Porque Te Vas" is closer to exotica than anything else, and with a name like Hausmeister, you might expect a stomping 4/4 floor filler, but instead you get a sprightly Ry Cooder workout, full of slight guitar peckings. This label has introduced itself in spectacular fashion. Watch out.

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