Robag Wruhme Robag WruhmeThora Vukk
Gabor Schabliztiki has long had a reputation for being a heavy drinker and not knowing how to behave himself. Many of his sets alongside Sören Bodner, when they were still Wighnomy Brothers, ended up with the two of them rolling around on the floor, off their faces, imitating pissing dogs and other stupidities, much to the enjoyment of many clubbers, because that’s what happens on a Saturday night. But underneath all that was a producer who got tears in his eyes upon seeing the aurora and who would jump at every chance he got to inject melancholy and sensibility into a kind of techno that never really fitted in with the German techno sound. Wighnomy Brothers weren’t from Hamburg –the teary-eyed vein–, Cologne –metronomic, somewhat poppy– or Berlin: they were from Jena, a lost corner in the east of Germany, and many isolated years inspired creative trends that, sooner or later, had to give. The moment came that Gabor / Robag Wruhme got rid of his techno skin –the up-tempo kick drum, the inclusion of rave effects to stir it up some more– and changed to a more delicate style with electro patterns, some melody, piano notes, warmth, space and soul. He then got out of the WB brotherhood, after seven years of collaboration –with the “Metawuffmischfelge” mix (Freude Am Tanzen, 2008) as a wonderful goodbye–, and Robag was on his own.
We don’t know what happened in the three years that followed. Apparently, he was happy in Jena, away from the techno scene, ignoring his underground star status. It’s easy to imagine him in some cellar, wrapped up warm against the cold, making music his way without being interested in anyone listening to it or releasing it. Since the end of WB, he has done only a few remixes and a fascinating deep cubist-like mix CD on Kompakt, “Wuppdeckmischmampflow” (2011). During this period of silence he was called by DJ Koze, who had just created the Pampa label and who encouraged him to start producing again. First, there was a single, and now there’s an album, based on two ideas: field recordings –from his house and the woods– and a Rhodes organ. The beats seem therefore like an incidental element, some thick skin to protect the beauty hidden between the crackles of nature and home. There’s sounds of steps on the wood, dishes in the dishwasher, sounds of insect and the wind; and there are fragile keyboard sounds with lots of space, in the vein of the best German abstract techno, ranging from early Isolée to DJ Koze and Pantha Du Prince.
In his own way, Robag Wruhme has managed to sum up that whole fragile school on a “Thora Vukk” that, despite some weaker moments –basically, the moments where one hears the past more than the future, like on “Bommsen Böff”, very reminiscent of the Playhouse school–, sounds like a sensitive and mysterious artefact at first and emits a beauty hidden between soft layers of sound upon hearing it several times more. This ethereal quality can be heard on the five short pieces –interludes he calls “Brücke”, German for “bridges”– of ambient, tense or relaxed, that divide the more club-oriented tracks, of which opener “Wupp Dek” and “Prognosen Bomm” stand out –the final track, “Ende”, is like an extended “Brücke”, five minutes of trembling with his voice, a piano and Sunday morning house. But the beat passages are as just liquid, in the vein of Villalobos and Bruno Pronsato –with a very light jazz swing– and with a Lawrence-like autumnal melancholy. And all that, without forgetting he’s Robag Wruhme, a good man who wants to be left alone so he can see the sun rise between the trees and mountains. Or at least, that’s the feeling you get from this extraordinary album, which could be the 2011 equivalent of hits like “Black Noise” (Pantha Du Prince), “Kosi Comes Around” (DJ Koze) and “The Absence Of Blight” (Lawrence).
Robag Wruhme - Wupp Dek