Recent DJ Sets

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Album Feature: Tosca's "No Hassle"

Download: Birthday
In retrospect, Kruder & Dorfmeister feels more like the “supergroup side project” of Tosca’s Richard Dorfmeister. In the late 90’s and early 00’s having a remix by Kruder & Dorfmeister was definitely the way to get hipsters to notice one’s music. If an act was new, a K&D remix would put them on the map and if they were veterans it would give them a shiny new thing making them “cool” again. The funny thing is that generally, the purpose of being remixed by djs or electronic producer(s) is to make the music more “dance friendly.” The K&D formula went in the opposite direction – they did music that was for listening or atmosphere, not really dancing. They didn’t create the “chill out” scene, but they definitely brought more attention to it. A German/Austrian downtempo & dub scene was able to build from this attention, one of the marquee venues being Vienna’s "Dub Club." The problem with my initial proposition is that really, Tosca grew out of K&D’s inability to put out any full-length albums other than “K+D Sessions” which is a collection of their sought-after remixes and about 2 or 3 original tracks (by far the least interesting of the material present.) This is why legends are more popular than historical fact – legends do what we listeners want, facts often do not.

I am glad that Richard saw the writing on the wall and formed Tosca with his old schoolmate Rupert Huber because a lot of good music has been released! If you are not familiar with Tosca you should definitely check out their first two albums, Opera and Suzuki. I haven’t been diligent about keeping up with their music since Suzuki in Dub (a collection of remixes of Suzuki tracks.) I’ve just been checking in from time to time and I came across an advance copy of No Hassle, due out in April 2009. I included “Fondue” from it on my March 5th radio show “Something Else!” (

No Hassle is not groundbreaking, but good music needn’t be – I’ll settle for quality over innovation. Overall it just feels good and there are really nice elements like the female vocals on “Birthday.” I don’t know if what she’s saying makes any sense literally, but it brings back a nice human element to music that is very obviously electronic. While the music is electronic it is still “warm” and has a lot of acoustic elements to it such as the prominent guitar on “Springer” which forms the backbone of the track along with the brush snare drum pattern (a softer feel than snare played with sticks.) The track I played on the show “Fondue” also plays around with a more complex time signature than a lot of electronic music. So there are some moves “forward” but it’s not a challenging record, just good. If you’re a fan of Kruder & Dorfmeister, there will be a lot here for you. If you like this album but don’t know K&D, then maybe you should check the “side-project” of Tosca’s Mr. Dorfmeister afterwards.

Micro-site for the album:

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