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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

FILTER KAFFEE: Filter-Kaffee 101 (2020)

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

The richness of the analog synth music reviewed and remastered by Manikin

1 Cup 1 9:30

2 Cup 2 8:46

3 Cup 3 8:17

4 Cup 4 6:46

5 Cup 5 7:33

6 Cup 6 2:33

7 Cup 7 10:41

8 Cup 8 12:05

*9 101- Complete 66:15

(CD/DDL 66:15) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School, Progressive EM)

There's a new coffee in town! A new one which replaces the very first version of Filter-Kaffee 101. In fact, the Manikin label took over the rights to this album which was part of the SynGate catalog. Thus, the entire collection can now be found at Manikin where I am assured that other café-meetings are currently underway and that a next collection is expected shortly. The transaction was done cordially, the two German labels having been very close collaborators for a long time. In fact, Kilian Schloemp's label has reissued many of Manikin's discontinued albums in CD-R format over the past few years. What more does it give to those who already own the first edition? Bah… Everything happens at the sound level! However, the two works are mastered by Gerd Wienekamp. As often, the comparisons between a CD-R format and a manufactured CD are at the level of the lifespan of the album. Studies suggest that the lifespan of a CD-R is much shorter than a manufactured CD. Today, in the digital age, this difference does not weigh heavily in the balance.

It was following pressure from audiophile fans who requested a CD version of FILTER-KAFFEE 101 that Mario Schönwälder brought the album back to Manikin. The sound envelope of this new version is different. The SynGate version was offered in a 24-bit version, do not looking for it now for that Kilian has removed it from the SynGate catalog, and its sound field was vast and very enveloping. Principally, the differences lie in the warmth of the tones. This new edition let's hear less coldness and less roughest tones in the detail. But that, we hear it once we bleed of our ears to have compared both versions quite often. Thus, we already notice a slight difference with Cup 1. The vocals at the start even have a more chthonic texture while the rhythm sounds more analogous. It goes and flows along much better in the curves of the leaps and of their twists. The small delicacies from the piano, especially in Cup 4, are more musical in this new version of Manikin. The same goes for the ambient moments. And so, it is for the poetic moments where the arrangements have more subtlety in this version versus that of SynGate. The sound is less nuanced too. We notice it in heavy moments, like Cup 5 which is less metallic and where we have also moved the twisted metal blasts. There are surprises here and there at the level of sound effects in the album. It is much more charming and never change the musical vision and direction of the album. So, I won't rewrite the 2011 review, the music hasn't changed that much. But I have to admit that this CD version of FILTER-KAFFEE 101 renders a sound image that makes the album sounds much more better. And surprisingly, Cup 8 is downright more enjoyable than the cold and metallic tone we've heard on the SynGate version. Perhaps this is intended, Mario was quite evasive about that when I asked him, in order to give something extra to those who had asked for this manufactured CD version of FILTER-KAFFEE 101 which in the end has much more to offer than only a new musical envelope. So much so that I gave it one more star. Quite significant!

But wait, there is still more! 😊. When you purchase the album, you are entitled to an unedited version of FILTER-KAFFEE 101, either101- Complete, in DDL where all tracks play, without any interruptions, in one long 66:15 track. I loved it! There were still 17 copies of this new CD version at the time of finishing this text.

Sylvain Lupari (January 22nd, 2021) *****

Available at Manikin Bandcamp

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