Enough Records, 2014
Review by Kent Manthie
OK, well, that was interesting [see previous article below], wasn’t it? I just wanted to mention that, yes I am going to start doing more and more articles about various topics and not every post will be another CD review.
That said. I want to welcome Herr Doktor and his interesting brand of dark, synthwave ambient “space noise”. The good Doktor is originally from Brazil, but has been living in Portugal of late. It seems that there is this scene building up in the tiny nation of Portugal, on the southern edge of the Iberian Peninsula and the “average” American probably wouldn’t know this (I’m just saying what everyone knows and what studies and even random questionnaires show), but Portugal was, at one time, long ago, a very powerful country. Nowadays, when we, history-deprived Americans are asked to name a few one-time “world powers” (that is, world powers that existed before the US came into being) we, oftentimes, get answer such as “England”, “France”, “Spain” and sometimes a smarty-pants will say “Holland” (“The Netherlands” would be an acceptable answer as well). But rarely do we hear anyone mention Portugal. C’mon, people. Portugal was a colonial empire not much different from the aforementioned powers. Portugal had colonies all over the globe: in the South Pacific, here and there around parts of Asia, as well as the big one, Brazil, which, to this day, has a Portuguese-speaking populace and traditions of the culture that the Portuguese left behind. So, don’t scoff at Portugal (if you’ve heard of the place) – they also were quite adept at cartography and were behind some vital excursions around the seas that helped find new territory as well as map that land out in some very influential maps that still exist today, in museums, universities, etc. who keep them safe and secure so there will be extant, for some time, a record of their magnificent achievements!
So, what does that have to do with “the Doktor”? Well, like I said, he’s living in Portugal now, a native of Brazil, he’s, at least to the Portuguese, “come home” in a sense (or am I just making that up?) Anyway, this new release of Herr Doktor’s, entitled 199X, released by netlabel extraordinaire, Enough Records, is a somewhat short CD – they don’t call it an EP, probably because there are eight tunes on it, but when you add up the times of each song, you come up with a rounded-off total time of about 23 minutes.
Never mind that, though, it’s the quality of the music that counts the most. 199X starts off with a 54 second introduction, entitled “The Night Theme Intro” and goes right into “The Miami Call”, a sexy, booty call that has the potential for letting loose on a sweaty dance floor: “The Miami Call” is, on 199X, only 3:16, but if a couple clever cats got hold of it and remixed it within inches of its life, it’d be a legend to that carefree, wunderkind generation that always has youth on its side (of course, the demographics of this “generation” change from time to time, but the sentiments are forever young.
Next, “Inner City Lights” is a more subdued, electronic, pulsating, somewhat droning lament about (maybe?) wandering around the big city, unable to mesh in with all the party people; you have some weight, some albatross hanging around your neck, something that won’t let go of you, therefore “Inner City Lights” is your own private soundtrack. You play it in your car as you drive down the boulevard, secretly wishing you could join the throngs and just escape. But not tonight.
“Can You Kiss Me First (Synthwa)” is a bit more upbeat. A paean to fresh love, maybe. It’s a crowded, dark, danceteria tonight at one of your favorite night spots and, as your gyrating, spinning in that “devil-may-care” attitude that the music and that thing you took plus those couple of stiff drinks you had give you. All of a sudden, amidst your solipsistic danceathon, you suddenly realize that there’s a kindred soul who’s dancing quite close, who seems to be in the same throes of ecstasy passion and painlessness. At a critical juncture your eyes meet and before long you’re both doing your own thing together, which is odd, since it’s not a harmonic, old-fashioned time, when you’d be dancing, shoulder to shoulder, etc. Anyway, that’s what I got out of “Can You Kiss Me First (Synthwa)”.
“Interlude” and “Revenge” both play off each other, with the same riffs and sounds, two parts of the same song, in essence. These are more opened-up, hypno-gaga delights that are driving the kids in the rave to a frenzy. It’s like a disco-theme with House overtones and a 21st century spin to it. Lovely.
Then the album’s final two cuts are “Walk” and “So Close”. The former is a synth laden suite of sexuality and sensuousness. A very seductive beat, that can put one into a rhythmic walk.
“So Close”, the “finale” has a Gary Numan-esque beginning to it. The lone synth riffing that is eventually joined by some milky drum machine beats. Then, about a minute into it, the music is even more reminiscent of Numan, with that certain sound that you hear on a lot of older Numan pieces, back from Telekon or I, Assassin. It’s also a quite musically adept closing track. Of course, hardcore fans will always be left wanting more, more, more, but “So Close” is a great way to wind down this leg of the journey. There will be more, don’t worry.
So, now that you have this on your mind, if you want this album in your clutches, all you have to do is go to http://www.archive.org or http://www.enoughrecords.com and get a free download to this one. Plus, if you go to the latter, you’ll get hooked up with a lot more free stuff from the guys at Enough – you can pick and choose what sort of record piques your interest and grab it for your own. At least you’ll have it in your music library on your PC. Well, have a ball doing that and keep on keepin’ on -KM.