Farben & James DIN A4:
Farben presents James DIN A4
Without being aware of the recording's details beforehand, one could be excused for identifying Farben presents James DIN A4 as a new Farben collection. In actual fact, the ten-track release is the product of Faitiche pilot Jan Jelinek (aka Farben) having spent the summer of 2013 remixing his way through the catalogue of sample-and-collage artist James DIN A4 (Dennis Busch)—hence the shared artist credit and album title. But so strong is Jelinek's Farben signature that the material could easily pass for the latest in a string of album and EP releases the Berliner's issued since 1998's self-titled twelve-inch appeared on Klang Elektronik. Above all else, it's Busch's embrace of collage as a grounding principle in his work—in fact, his credits include an illustrated book called The Age of Collage–Contemporary Collage in Modern Art—that makes him and Jelinek such natural bedfellows.
The opening pair “Kader Dolls” and “Heimkehr Der Vulgaren” strut and swing with all the breezy elan of a prototypical Farben cut, and the funny noises that crop up here and elsewhere also feel very much in line with Jelinek's sensibility. But let's not downplay Busch's role, as he's just as much responsible for the playful, sample-heavy character of the thirty-nine-minute album. The two share both an affinity for 4/4 grooves as well as an appetite for dressing them up with all manner of vocal and instrumental noises (in an interview conducted by Jelinek, Busch describes 4/4 time as “a kind of diametrical baton [that] creates structure and acts as a kind of hostel warden to keep the pubescent samples in line” and also refers to the structure as “a fitting little dress for the playful bumblebees and weeds that are the samples”).
Generally speaking, all ten tracks offer variations on a theme that involves samples, textures, and beats being melded into wonky house tracks. House music conventions are refracted into odd shape, not so much ironically or perversely but more affectionately. One gets the impression that the artists involved are sincere in their love of dance music but by their very nature can't help but present their version of it as one that's severely warped. As an example, “Please Excuse My Face” twists a straight-up funk groove into bizarre, twitchy shape, while “Krieghelm Hundewasser” punctuates its laconic swing with faint syndrum accents and swizzles of clipped voice fragments. And yet while tracks such as “Heimkehr Der Vulgaren” and “Helfen Im Sitzen” offer skewed riffs on house music, the album isn't dance-oriented only, with the vignette “Powerbaum” more focused on exploring the textural side of the Farben-James DIN A4 equation. Even so, the tracks that accentuate this less beat-focused side are so short (the eighteen-second “Fahles Graz” the extreme case) they more function as interludes that provide brief stopping-points between the clubbier settings.