Tigerskin: All Those Goodbyes
Dirt Crew

The past seven years have seen Alexander Kruger (aka Tigerskin, Korsakow, and Dub Taylor) concentrating on EP releases—thirteen (either solo or with Till von Sein), for those keeping score. Which might offer one explanation why the Berlin-based producer's latest artist album under the Tigerskin alias (the first since his 2004 Resopal Schallware set Back In The Days) sounds more like a collection of individual tracks than a cohesive statement. Such an impression also can be traced to the fact that almost half of its fourteen pieces are collaborations with others, such that a track by Kruger and von Sein (“7477”) ends up sounding worlds apart from the one by Kruger and Ulrich Schnauss (“Love Went Without Saying”).

Such a lack of cohesiveness isn't a crippling blow, however, as All Those Goodbyes offers a goodly number of pleasurable moments, and some tracks are excellent. That in itself shouldn't surprise: Kruger's been releasing music since the mid-‘90s and definitely knows his way around a tune. Certainly one of the best is “Leaving You,” a mid-album epic that gets maximum mileage out of its resplendent nine minutes when, armed with electric piano, sweeping strings, and burning synthesizers, it powers its way through a series of dramatic build-ups. Strong too is “Retrofit,” whose electrofied techno re-energizes the album as it moves into its final third, and “Stella,” an on-fire techno collaboration with Eddie Richards.

The album oozes a relaxed, good-time vibe that's established at the outset by “One Too Many Times,” a frothy house shuffler crowned by a laconic vocal by Uffe (“One too many times / I knocked on your door at night”). A similar light-footed feel informs “Inside the Groove,” which finds The Lazarusman waxing poetic, while “Heartbreakin' Body” exudes an infectious deep house snap'n'swing sure to fill club floors. As it approaches the halfway point, the album eases into an electronica section that sees the soothing sparkle of “Early Winter” segue into “Love Went Without Saying,” a luscious downtempo reverie that truly does have Schnauss's fingerprints all over it. One final surprise arrives in the form of “Burning Down Paris,” the lovely beatless meditation with which the album ends.

As solid as the release is, a familiar criticism applies: the album's seventy-seven-minute running time means that a tighter release of, say, fifty to sixty minutes could have been issued (interestingly, the vinyl version includes three bonus club tracks, making it even longer than the CD). As polished as it is, a track such as “The And,” for example, wouldn't be sorely missed had it been omitted.

October 2013