Glitchy Glitchy Ya-Ya

Crackles and Whirrrs and Glubs-Oh Mi(crohouse)!

If Immer isolates microhouse's secretly epic gestures, Friends, a mix by Mayer's Cologne cohort Triple R (a/k/a journalist, producer, and DJ Richard Riley Reinhold), offers something more unassumingly workaday. It's also more vocal-heavy than its fellows. When microhousers play with house's diva ideal—see Luomo's 2000 album Vocalcity, or the glitchy parts of Björk's Vespertine—they tend to cut the voices up as much as the rest of the instruments. Not here; for the first hour of Friends, women sing-song or mutter or giggle in relatively straightforward fashion while buried in the mix—not quite understandable, not quite ignorable, not unlike indie rock's celebration of ordinary speech.

Shuffling greenhouse pioneer Thomas Fehlmann
photo: Wolfgang Tillmans
Shuffling greenhouse pioneer Thomas Fehlmann

No wonder the disc crests with Superpitcher's remix of Dntel's "(This Is) the Dream of Evan and Chan," featuring Ben Gibbard from Seattle's Death Cab for Cutie. It's the only particularly song-like track here (Dntel/ Gibbard's new album as the Postal Service, Give Up, is closer to neo-new wave), but the other tracks' tentative linearity prepare us for its straightforward structure. Likewise, their unusually frisky array of sonic devices—the scrumptious crackles of Oliver Hacke's remix of Process's "Pelican," the gold-dust paddlewheel ripples of Metaboman's "Easy Woman (Robag Wrhume Mix)," the lipstick-wet rustles of Dialogue's "Gigolistic"—get us ready for the head-emptying moment when Gibbard's voice is overtaken by ghost bells shaking in the distance. And when that's over, we get Oxtongue's "Delight," which sounds like—take your pick—Boards of Canada covering Daft Punk's "Digital Love" or Daft Punk doing BoC's "1969." Another year for me and you, another year with nothing to do except play with the stuffing pointing out of the couch.

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