When is a DJ not a DJ? Well, when he is Paul Kalkbrenner. Kalkbrenner is not DJ in the conventional sense. In fact, he is not a DJ in any sense. He is more a purveyor of live electronic music.
His new album, 7, is a reflection of his talents. What he attempts during his live sets and within this latest album is to collect segments of sounds and bring these together as he performs. This latest album is a collection of twelve tracks. Having previously broken from his former labels and started out on his own, this new venture is an attempt to place him before a wider audience.
The album itself starts with a few standard, intelligent, deep house tracks: ‘Battery Park’ and ‘Cylence 412’. As the album moves forward, it feels that this is not something unique and could easily be dismissed as a rather non-descript, yet decent, dance album.
However your ears will prick up when the track ‘Tone & Timber’ starts. With its wave of house piano and growing subtle basslines, this is more of what we had hoped for from the long-time Berliner. The track has a hypnotic, almost Moby, quality to it.
‘Channel Isle’ continues in same vein, and you start to fully appreciate his talents of infusing dance rhythms with interesting, almost unique, samples from yesteryear. The album continues to simply get better and better with the increased tempo of ‘Feed Your Head’, with its accompanying vocals which generate waves of nostalgic, “hands in the air” feelings that many clubbers can relate to.
Other notable tracks are the moody ‘Papercut Pilot’, before the stand out track of the album descends onto your ears. ‘Mothertrucker’ starts with a kicking bass drum and infectious off-beat whilst acidic twisting sounds populate the track. Truly, this is German dance music at its very best.
After the rather hectic last few tracks, Kalkbrenner takes time out to show his more delicate side in the sunny and uplifting track ‘A Million Days’, complete with a reworking of the Luther Vandross classic ‘Never Too Much’. This is sure to be a summer anthem in the clubs.
As if to counter this, the track ‘Align the Engine’ displays his darker side with more industrial beats and moody synths. This is clearly a man with a great array of talent at his disposal. However, at times it feels as though he has attempted to show off all his possibilities, rather than nailing himself to a particular style. This is certainly not a negative thing and it is certain that this album will be a great success. His future ventures may bring a more eclectic and diverse range of electronic dance music, and we hope he won’t keep us waiting too long for the next instalment.