VA: Traum 100

Staying in operation for ten years and issuing one hundred releases are accomplishments that definitely warrant celebration, especially when labels seem to be falling so regularly by the wayside. So one would expect Traum's one-hundredth release to be well-nigh perfect—alas, it's not, though its established names (Broker/Dealer, Gabriel Ananda, Jesse Somfay, Process, Dominik Eulberg, Thomas Brinkmann) and recent recruits (Moonbeam, Minilogue, Super Flu) do contribute a goodly amount of high-grade material (all previously unreleased).

The best tracks, from Dominik Eulberg and Jesse Somfay, are both irresistibly melodic and rhythmically infectious: Eulberg's “Es Klebt Noch Morgentau in Deinem Haar” (“There Is Still Morning Dew Sticking To Your Hair”) is distinguished by the thrust of its bumping techno groove and tinkle of its sweetly chiming melodies, while Somfay's euphoric “The Days of My Youth Ended With Broken Bottles” (remixed by Eulberg and Riley Reinhold) pairs a lovely Kraftwerk-styled synth melody over an equally jaunty pulse (listen closely and you'll actually hear four instruments play the original melody in variations). Were all of the album's material at this level it would be perfect (sequenced after Somfay's track, Super Flu's club banger “Sunset Handjob” can't help but suffer when it's so melodically lean).

The too-little heard West Coast duo Broker/Dealer makes a strong impression with “Midnight,” whose shimmering synth lines and lightly chugging beats exude a sultry Balearic breeziness, and so too do Moonbeam with its low-riding clubber “You Can Hear Them,” Gabriel Ananda with his sleek rouser “Lila Pause” and Process (Steve Barnes) with the early-hours stormer “City-zen.” Slightly less stunning though still credible enough are tracks by Bukaddor & Fishbeck (the trance house cut “Decade”), Minilogue (the clickety flow of the driving tech-house track “Carnival”), Thomas Brinkmann (the punchy, bass-heavy disco groover “Aleks in Love”).

July 2008