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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ROBERT SCHROEDER: Club Chill Vol. 1 (2011)

Updated: Jul 2, 2020

If we have this taste for dancing, I would bet on this album whose main essences are not so far from the roots of the Berlin School

1 Waiting for You 11:12

2 Love is In the Air 5:54

3 Checking Out 7:52

4 Psychodelic 6:50

5 Dance Me Tired 5:05

6 Dont Disturb 5:05

7 I Feel You 7:56

8 Chilling Me Softly 5:28

9 I Like It So 4:47

10 Cold Desert 6:23

(CD 71:00) (V.F.)

(New Dance Music, Electronica)

Robert Schroeder never does things by halves! This immeasurable studio beast likes to exploit all the facets and possibilities of his equipment by pushing the boundaries of EM out of its Berlin School roots. And it's this context that he produced a new album of EM where the groove and chill genres for nightclubs and personal listenings sway in Cosmos. CLUB CHILL Vol 1 is an EM album of New Dance Music with Chill-Out, Down Tempo and Groovy moves. The chameleon par excellence of contemporary EM plunges into this crossroads of styles by offering 10 titles with varied influences, going as far as the flavors of Funk from the 70's. First of a series of albums to come, this CLUB CHILL Vol 1 borrows a bit of the very diverse styles of New Frequencies Vol. 1 but with a very intimate ambience where the music circulates between our ears with an incredible fluidity and a panoply of sound effects as fascinating as astonishing.

Waiting for You begins with a suave rhythm supported by a sober percussion's play and a bass line with elastic chords. Delicate, the keyboard loses these chords in a foggy mellotron as the tempo is getting livelier under a plethora of Schroeder's sound effects and of synth layers which float over an ambivalent beat. A rhythm which progresses with good percussions' strikes while being surrounded by good synth layers in an electronic approach with hybrid atmospheres. The ambient approach overlooks this kind of down tempo hovering with floating layers and sulphurous solos which hover above a rowdy sound fauna. A sensual female voice completes the first track of CLUB CHILL Vol 1. Love is in the Air follows with a sensual electronic ballad that whistles under the stars and sober chords of floating keyboards. The ambience is intimate with these piano notes which take the shape of this whistled melody between the chords of a fuzz guitar and the blows of trumpets and of very funky saxophones. Here again, a warm synthesized voice envelops the whole thing. Checking Out reminds me of the sound editing of the Chemical Brothers, but with a nuance in the rhythm which hiccups of its jerky keys. Chords which get unfold under an arsenal of very attractive sound effects and foggy synth pads. The percussions are very good for a rhythm machine and the synths ululate good solos on a structure more than ever divided between Funk and synth pop. Far from being psychedelic, Psychodelic is what comes closest to the style that Robert Schroeder has been developing since Brainchips; either an ambivalent rhythm which rests under strange metallic pulsations and a perpetual oscillation riddled with vocal samples. The structure is quietly agitated with more furious chords and good synth solos. Here, like everything inside the album, the rhythm is hard to pin down as it constantly swaps while respecting its basic premise. More sober and more electronic than Love is In the Air, Dance Me Tired is another sensual ride filled up by sonic streamers from Cosmos that fall and float under beautiful misty pads. The rhythm is suave and to the limit sensual with fine suggestive pulsations that beat under superb languid solos.

Dont Disturb is a cross between Love is In the Air and Dance Me Tired. The rhythm is pleasantly catchy and comes mainly from keyboard chords which wonderfully imitate the riffs of a virtual guitar. It's a good delicate and groovy track just like Chilling Me Softly which is on the other hand much more sensual and lively with a good bass line and languid synth solos with a cosmic tendency. I Feel You is a long title that offers a growing hypnotic structure with percussion strikes and keyboard chords that merge into an oscillating echo. The title is bathing in a beautiful electronic atmosphere with more sober sound effects and electronic stars that sparkle and twirl on a structure that is altogether minimalist. The hesitant introductory rhythm of I Like it So becomes more jerky to adopt a soft nervous structure filled with good spectral and twisted solos which revolve around beautiful mellotron layers and glass' percussions. A more electronic title with synth solos which recall the universe of Vangelis, just like Cold Desert and its stubborn tempo which comes straight out of The City or yet Direct. Cold Desert is by far the title closest to the usual roots of Robert Schroeder where floats good solos in a hybrid ambience; two elements which are the cornerstone of this first part of Club Chill.

With its vision very close to Electronica, CLUB CHILL Vol 1 is obviously not designed for fans of Berlin School style or progressive EM. It's not my genre either, except that the ingenuity and determination that Robert Schroeder puts to maximize his equipment and his vision of New Dance Music make it an astonishingly pleasant album to listen to, and which is appreciated even more each time you listen to it again. If we have this taste for dancing and especially to surprise our friends with a new progressive dance music, I would bet on this album whose main essences are not so far from the roots of the Berlin School as seen and corrected by Schroeder himself around the 85's.

Sylvain Lupari (May 30th, 2011) *****

Available at Spheric Music

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