Between late 1999 and early 2002, Farben (Jan Jelinek) issued a series of four 12" releases for Klang Elektronik that depicted various members of the RAF, a German left-wing terrorist group that existed in the '70s and '80s, on the sleeves. Those titles -- Featuring the Dramatics, Raw Macro, Silikon, and Farben Says: Don't Fight Phrases -- are anthologized for Textstar, which assembles nine of the 15 tracks from those releases into one of the most mindbending and most enjoyable documents of micro-house/micro-dub issued to date. Jan Jelinek, the man behind Farben, has been highly regarded since the late '90s under his own name and as Gramm. He's a top-flight producer of dub-suffused electronic music that wipes away that oft-considered divide between music forms intended for home listening and the dancefloor. However, when donning his Farben hat, Jelinek makes his warmest and most inviting productions and makes further overtures toward the tiles. Out of his three primary operating aliases, Farben is the least steeped in clicks-and-cuts ideology and the most steeped in the enveloping, brain-massaging capabilities of dub. And it's not just the titles of tracks like "Live at the Sahara Tahoe, 1973" and "Farben Says: Love to Love You Baby" that indicate love for soul and disco (as well as a great sense of humor). "Beautone" snaps, squelches, pops, and burps just as much as anything by a Mille Plateaux producer, but the tapping four-four beat and the dizzy swirls of disco strings rescue the song from merely being an interesting cluster of funny noises. The rotund bassline of "Farben Says: So Much Love" is practically carnal, a notion optimized by heady atmospherics and a line repeatedly delivered by a breathy voice. Rather than imparting devotion, desire, or something from the Goffin & King songbook, the female whispers to her mate that he or she needs a new haircut. Equal parts hip and brain, Textstar is a must-have for fans of the form.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman