Roman Flügel Roman FlügelLive At Robert Johnson Vol. 5
Roman Flügel is one of the long-distance runners on the German scene who has best kept up his muscle over time. Using countless pseudonyms across an impeccable career spanning nearly 20 years and working with any number of prestigious labels (mainly Playhouse / Ongaku / Klang of Frankfurt), this electronic craftsman also enjoys the merit of having popularised German techno outside of specialised circles, thanks to his alliance with Jörn Elling Wuttke in the always effective (and festive) duo Alter Ego. In fact, the group’s exemplary dance floor mover, “Rocker,” is one of those incombustible hymns that will still be playing in clubs at the coming of the next ice age, or when the sun turns into a red giant. But that’s not all: he’s also an important man in his country, a privileged consigliere in the palace intrigues at the Kaiser’s court. Sven Väth and Roman Flügel are like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in the 90’s: they whisper their secrets into each others’ ears, let out little private laughs, and understand each other like nobody’s business when Väth needs his magic fingers in the studio to bring out a new LP.
It’s not surprising, then, that the Robert Johnson club in Frankfurt, the real Valhalla of the minimal-trance-techno that is in fashion in the capital of sausage, has entrusted him with the fifth of its prestigious series of live mixes. It is doubtless a special session, since Flügel is from Frankfurt and has DJ-ed in the cathedral countless times. They know him better there than they do in his own block of flats. In fact, it wouldn’t be too far off to think that this prestigious spot has had a strong influence on his music, and that this set is a sort of payback from an excellent student to his university. After Chloé, Ivan Smagghe, Prins Thomas and Thomas Hammann & Gerd Janson, Flügel once again releases the brake and starts the motor running on a series of live sets that seem to be in their prime, also promising future releases (Arto Mwambe, Ata and Dixon are next). If that’s not enough, we are also looking at this Frankfurt DJ’s first official mix-cd, which gives the body of this new sports car an even nicer shine.Let’s get to the music. The results of this trip are not out of line with the prophecies; there is no sight of the least intention of changing the story of the live sessions, and in this day of cretins who think they are different, we appreciate someone who chooses to conserve, to stick to what is sure, to be a hard-line purist. The finish is impeccable in purely technical terms, but the music always comes before the pirouette with the crossfader (I think I heard the occasional effect added sporadically, but little more). Flügel brings a surgical mixing wrist to the trip, as well as smoothness in equalising low notes. And he does it without a fuss, measured, by the book.
In this frame of mind, this DJ from Frankfurt allows himself the luxury of taking all sorts of technoid variants under his wing, sewing up the tapestry without erratic stitches or uneven cuts. The more dub techno opens the hunting season (Freund Der Familie’s sensational “Pewars,”) and the snake starts to slither with sexy-funk candour thanks to Itzone’s “Azul Mágico.” The pleasant surprise, the Flügel touch of class, is without a doubt the arrival of “Don’t Take It” by sacrosanct Armando (rest in peace) in the fourth mix. First glint of acid. And then he spins the kind of techno that leaves bruises, courtesy of Ben Klock’s infallible “Before One.” Everything seems perfectly compacted, with a pounding afterglow, especially in the second part of the set, after he enters into the double “Landscapes” by Idioma (the necessary melodic break) and Foreveraction’s “U People” (galloping again at an 80’s techno-electroid pace). This is when Flügel bites down on the lemon directly, getting acid up to his eyeballs, thanks to Maetrik’s “Show Me” and “Humpty Acid,” from his own parallel project, Soylent Green: funky, acid, and house music rise up and pave the road. And we smell fresh techno with Ratsnake’s “Swedish Woman” and Soulphiction’s “Rise.” The final touch? An unreleased song by old Roman, the great track “Brian Le Bon,” the German’s second previously unreleased one, along with the noteworthy “N.M.I.S.M.D,” which we will be able to hear on the maestro’s future EP. A fine work.
Óscar Broc Buy it here