Robag Wruhme: Wuzzelbud “KK”
Musik Krause

The packaging's miniscule type and minimal design aesthetic might suggest that Robag Wruhme's Wuzzelbud “KK” is micro-music of the 12k or Line sort. Don't be fooled; it's Kompakt-styled tech-house that pushes far beyond repetitive 4/4 with lots of innovative twists and turns. Rubbery bass lines and sheathed hi-hats work up a consistent sweat throughout, but stylistic variety is ensured when touchstones include not only tech-house but micro-sampling, hip-hop, and soul.

You know you're in unusual territory from the outset, with the chopped electro beats of “Hugendubel” and its scrambled, computerized voice intoning “pigeon toe”; the track takes a sweet turn at the two-minute mark with some added background shimmer. A more familiar though no less satisfying style reigns on “Mensur.” Here, fluttering, scurrying patterns percolate over Cologne 4/4 rhythms joined by rubbery synth lines punctuated by booming splash accents. The clanking, whirring clickhouse of “Jause” shows how much can be accomplished with a single vocal fragment (“Check my vision”) and a little imagination. On the mellower tip, there's “Pelagia” whose slow Autechrian clicking beats complement melancholy melody lines. The title track's propulsive 4/4 techno includes a woman's voice chopped into fragments, actually lines spoken by a mad Ophelia to Queen Gertrude in Hamlet as she grieves the death of her father ("Say you? nay, pray you, mark. He is dead and gone, lady, He is dead and gone; At his head a grass-green turf, at his heels a stone"). The album peaks, though, with “K.T.B.,” perhaps the track that veers farthest afield stylistically. Its acoustic bass-driven funk and deep hip-hop flavourings are tasty enough but even more irresistible are Franziska “Delhia” Grohmann's smooth, sultry flow and the “Ooohh, yes we're coming closer / Ooohh ooohh, I rap you inside” chorus. The album closes out with the infectious house rhythms, vocal fragments, and acid synths of “Shrubbs” and the guitar glissandi and soft waves of the ambient oasis “Konnex.”

Wruhme manages the difficult task of invoking numerous styles while preserving an overall unified feel, largely due to the whomping 4/4 and pulsating tech-house patterns which appear throughout. Wuzzelbud “KK” represents no radical advance upon existing genres but it's a satisfying and accomplished set nonetheless. Anyone seeking a classy and imaginative collection of high quality tech-house could certainly do a whole lot worse.

June 2004