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Ellen Alien Berlinette 2003

Ellen Allien's second proper full length (after 2001's Stadtkind and last year's Weiss Mix CD) is one of the triumphs of the year. Battered beats spray skittle grease over a fatty backdrop of analog bass and smeared, oily chords, while Allien pushes her own voice, run through a thousand plug-ins, front-and-center in the mix, whispering, confessing, cajoling, comforting. The result is a dancefloor masterpiece (think: Two Lone Swordsmen) that offers intimate pop pleasures rivaling Barbara Morgenstern's Nichts Muss. Kompakt, New Order and Soft Pink Truth all provide reference points, but by the end of the album, Allien's demure booty techno sets a standard all its own.

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