This is one of those releases you stumble across more or less by accident and end up getting completely overtaken by its simple complexity and goosebump-inducing beauty. Released on the Raster-Noton sponsored "Bine" imprint, "König Und Drache (king and dragon) explores a sort of effortlessly organic blend of microscopically crunchy House music and night-time glowing loveliness, most often bringing to mind Jan Jelinek's work as Farben but considerably less focused on those signature jazz-loops and samples. The depth of field here is widened by virtue of Brunn's innate melodic responses and wide open instincts for bridging squashed 4/4 beats and effervescent melodic underlays with an incredible ability to involve. His childhood dabbling with classical Piano playing comes across through these often resolutely percussive tracks, as does his cross-cultural background (roots in both Dresden and Taiwan) - something which lends this incredible album an air of both determination and introspection. A quiet masterpiece of an album that comes with a huge recommendation - immediate listening required.
Extremely beautiful minimal record full of mysterious chords, silent beats and very dense atmosphere without being limited to be just minimal house but somehow ever evolves. Whoever knows his tracks on Mole, USM, Out To Lunch or ware won't be too surprised, yet happy to see benhamin took his time to perfect the more subtle side of his sound.
Brunn also comes from Chemnitz (to where BineMusic and Raster-Noton also got strong links) but has been more socialized through house and techno then through experimental and minimal music (his 12"s usually appearing on Ware and Mole). Yet for his first real album he reduced his sound. "König und Drache" fascinates with melodic, house related, still almost scanty tracks. Wether or not this is due to his experiences during a longer Taiwan visit were really as imprinting as we are told by the title and the liner notes we can not say, but with such a convincing result, we do not care at all.
Until now appearing mainly on USM and Ware ("Laminar EP"), Benjamin Brunn's debut album on BineMusic reflects the last years he spent between Chemnitz, Dresden and Taiwan. "König und Drache" takes up the both strict and nocturne tech-house of his ware releases but spins his sounds further away from the dancefloor, up to an academic understanding of spartanic yet deep minimalism, somehow linking him with similar approaches from richie hatwin and his concept series. It's the temporizingly rhythmical title track "König und Drache" which merges this cold sensuality with the improvisations of Asian music box dub, casting his spell over the listeners, while "Cool ist hier" with its trembly organ pad effects and the drop click techno opus "Liebling" are a lot more thumping.
Although Benjamin Brunn's music has been cropping up courtesy of labels like Ware, Out To Lunch and USM on compilation cds and eps for the last four or five years, this is his debut album. Brunn draws inspiration from both his native Germany and his current country of residence, Taiwan-hence the title /which translates as "King and Dragon"). His fractured, attenuated take on house music proves to be a subtle and flexible medium for the expression of abstruse emotion. His 4/4 constructions dare to abandon the central pulse of the kickdrum, and the rest of the mix revolves with cerebral care around the spaces where the beats would usually be. The opening track "Welcome Engineer" climbs and falls through a haze of muffled clubland chords, but the radioactive digital crackles creeping gradually across the foreground convey a sense of abandonment. (rather than abandon) with mournful economy. "Cool ist hier" teeters with surgical clarity around a giddy off-beat, like a post-glitch sweet exorcist, gradually clothing itself in the stately systole and diastole of a pristine, two chord motif, while the aching, slow glitter of "Port Of Keelung" brings things to a close with quiet precision.
Known from "Ware" and "USM". A collaboration between the eastern German "art music area" Chemnitz and the Asian "think tank" Tapei, this is a well done attainment between abstractism and installed sound worlds based upon sheer house.
After the Raster-Noton oriented albums by Byetone and Tol as well as the unfocussed electronic explorations by Fold and Eonta, Essen based label BineMusic makes a swing with his fifth release. Benjamin Brunn already impressed on other minimal house labels like usm or out to lunch, so on his debut album you find this on-the-edge-of-house drafts that know of its structures, yet neglect its direct body appeal. Listing-house (if this word would not sound that dull) that can usually be found on normoton or Out To Lunch, completed with jazzyness for which Move D and his adepts did a lot of pioneer work. A smooth hull.
Chemnitzer Stadtmagazin "371" (DE)
A really transparent album. Small glassy sound layers are edged by snare lines of which silent dust hiss trickles off. Its dim shining reminding of the not binding melancholy of a sun beam does not come unexpected, although "König und Drache" does not give away from where. Benjamin Brunn's debut album sounds sensible, introverted and fine. House bass lines are triggered only slightly, sounds travel through the room and arrangements get built up with lots of caution and quietude. Resulting in a complete sound works that is nothing but poignantly beautiful.
Lecker Elektro (DE)
Maybe you thought that Benjamin Brunn would play a tribute to his former releases on Ware and Mole - which were more targeted towards the "shaking" side of dancing - on his debut album. Instead his first longplayer arrives really chilled and full of rich sounds that aim for the wing chair. Nevertheless his house relations can be felt all over the place, even if it's the more relaxed and minimal kind. Nice one!
Frequenzen - A. Wendt (UK)
An album that can do without, ... Without skipping, without altering the volume, without interfering at all. Benjamin Brunn's 'König und Drache' organically flows, swells, fades, it rises and disappears. It embraces a variety of electronic music composition styles and evolves constantly fresh patterns, structures. For long time i have not received promo material that could do without.
Fifth release on this Raster-Noton related imprint sees Benjamin Brunn (of united states of mars fame) delivering nine tracks of tidy, crisply produced electronic sounds. Taking a dubby, 4/4 angle at times and building the percussion up slowly from obsucre beginnings into semi-grooving tracks you get a subtle selection that'll satisfy the thirst of even the most avid glitch / click fan. Brilliant, in my opinion.
Beam Me Up (DE)
Hectic, stress, crisis, noise, chaos: the daily terror is all around us, and between all this Benjamin Brunn produces music that turns all this in a opp field ("other people's problem", as from the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy). While listening to "König und Drache" i imagine a helicopter flight through the urban canyons of asian cities (Brunn lived and worked in Taipei for several months) during which the noise is faded out, only leaving this beautiful music. Everything becomes peaceful, fades into a self concient slow motion flow. Still Brunn does not produced pure ambient works, but his tracks groove and pend between layers and minimal beats. Music to breathe, relax - and then getting back into the mayhem at volume level 11.