BRAINWORK: The Other Works (2013)
Updated: Apr 8
“Once again, Uwe Saher brings us in the spheres of lunar dancing with an EM which is a skilfull mix of so many styles that we eventually fall for it”
1 French Love 4:43
2 White Desert 4:54
3 Bird Dance 3:46
4 Drive 6:20
5 Sweet Honeybee 4:01
6 Urban Groove 3:35
7 Spring Mood 3:37
8 Easy Go 5:06
9 Go Happy 5:27
10 Shirin 5:06
11 Skyscraper 5:49
12 White Desert- Impro Cut 5:04
(CD-r 57:52) (V.F.)
(Jazz, Lounge, Groove, New Berlin School)
One of the dangers facing an artist with a two-headed artistic entity is to encroach on the approach of one personality to the detriment of the other. Uwe Saher leads two careers head-on in the world of contemporary EM. There is his Element 4 project, which is dynamite compressed with strong and powerful rhythms, and this one from Brainwork, which is a more dreamlike EM molded in the tracks of the Berlin School and sometimes of the New Berlin School. On Earcatcher, released in 2010, Uwe Saher had already brought his hot character into the poetic world of Brainwork with a result that had destabilized his fans. After a gentle homecoming in 2011 with City Lights, Uwe founded his two entities again in a musical project that took root in the early 90's. THE OTHER WORKS perfectly describes its name. It's an album which is totally opposite to the two musical entities of the German musician with an EM which is nevertheless a delicate fusion of the two approaches. Much like Software had done, Brainwork incorporates groovy and funk rhythms in envelopes of mists and ambiences a bit cosmic that limit the liveliness of these rhythms. If the result leaves his fan perplexed, he is quickly seduced by this mixture where the elements of the Berlin School wonderfully embrace rhythms which are sometimes pure, without ever being hard.
The writing of this album dates back to a time when Uwe Saher's ears were inundated with the scent of progressive and experimental jazz. Flanked by trumpeter Piotr Bal and saxophonist Erdal Tosun, it offers a collection of 12 tracks with fine variances in rhythms where percussions reign supreme on melodies finely sculpted by a section of brass and a synth with catchy solos. French Love sets the tone by spreading its bewitching earworm through a melodious line of arpeggios which sparkle hesitantly on a bed of fluttering sequences. Even if the rhythm is finely jerky, its envelope of funky-dance remains frozen in a hushed ambience where are murmuring suggestive breaths, are floating mists of Venus which lay these atmospheres of disco and is singing a seducer solo. These soft rhythms, a bit suggestive, which are trapped in morphic atmospheres legislate the beauty of this ode to lunar dance-music. Closer to the Groove with a puny sensual approach, White Desert features the copper section of the Bal/Tosun tandem with a saxophone which extends its dreamy solos on a structure of lunar down-tempo. Bird Dance goes for a cosmic trip-hop approach with a very catchy rhythm which hops on a carpet of good percussions with sparkling strikes and a bass line with slow notes vibrating with a raucous sensuality. The tone is set by a very good duel between the captivating harmonies of the trumpet and the nasal breaths of a saxophone muffled by its horn of solitude.
We like? We will love Spring Mood and its bewitching hip-hop that tingles in our ears with percussions struck on bottles and its very jazzed-up brass section, as well as Easy Go which is a little more lounge style, and its crying saxophone solos on a good mesh of percussions with lively tones. And the more we move, the more we remain captivated by this astonishing play of percussions which roll in loops. On Drive they forge a fiery West Indian rhythm with machine-guns of percussions and steel-drums which strike a bass line with elastic gurgles. It seems like hearing a mixture of Earth Wind and Fire, Phil Collins and Software on this catchy track as well as on more relaxed tracks like Sweet Honeybee which is a nice mix of hip-hop and down-tempo with a very lyrical synth. Speaking of synth and poetic solos, Skyscraper is a very good title of New Berlin School with very good solos which parade on an unbeatable rhythm. Purely funky, Urban Groove captivates the senses with its bumpy rhythm that stamps in sweet smells of jazz with harmonic breaths full of acid. There would be a Herbie Hancock hidden in the studio that we would discover with Go Happy and its structure of funk with a curt and hatched rhythm that collapses under percussions of Tablas styles. Very catchy, like Shirin and its complex acid jazz structure. Same melody, same theme with a few variations, White Desert - Impro Cut features Erdal Tosun's very melodious saxophone.
It's very possible that THE OTHER WORKS baffles Brainwork fans since it's not really a Brainwork work. It's rather one of Uwe Saher who gives himself thoroughly in a world of dance music with rhythms that are difficult to label as the mixing of genres blends within these 5-minute structures. Except that Uwe Saher being Uwe Saher, the music and especially the melodies are ultimately always bewitching. The brass section? Bah… Genesis did it! Why not Brainwork and especially in an EM universe. It flows gently on this percussion play which is as lively as it's imaginative. Did I like it? Not really my kind, but I enjoyed discovering these 12 dance music pieces which all have this Brainwork imprint, even if very partial. But for his fans, Brainwork being Brainwork I think it should go well...
Sylvain Lupari (April 23rd, 2013) ***½**
Available at Brainwork.com