Best Albums of 2020: Kruder and Dorfmeister ‘1995’

1995 (G-Stone Recordings)

1995 is the full-length Kruder and Dorfmeister debut album that never was, rescued from a box of old DAT tapes 25 years after its creation in a front room in Vienna using a few samplers, keyboards and effects units. I’m happy to report that it sounds, well, exactly like a very good Kruder and Dorfmeister album made in 1995. It’s of its time, to be sure, but it’s aged well. Like all the best ambient dance music of that heady era, technology has not wearied it.

In many ways, it expands naturally on the 4-track G-Stoned EP from two years previous: lots of funk and jazz-laden flavours built on a foundation of hip hop breaks and trippy dub production techniques, spiced with echoes of spacerock, 60’s lounge records and retro soundtrack music ala Lalo Schifrin and Ennio Morricone. “Morning” and “Swallowed The Moon” are both utterly gorgeous with their lush strings and wandering electric piano. Emotionally the music leans towards the light, but not always. “Johnson” might be the most haunting piece in their entire oeuvre, sampling Delta bluesman Robert Johnson against a dark, seductive break and a fantastic Theremin line that whistles like a ghost towards the end. The most unusual thing here is the 13-minute epic “One Break”. Brooding, sparse and patient, the long opening section builds with pan pipes, bird sounds and African drums, eventually settling into a jazzy midtempo break before a final segue into (hello mid 90’s!) ambient drum ‘n’ bass.

Best Albums of 2020 Reviews Index

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