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The Modernist Kangmei

Picking a good Jorg Burger project can be as challenging as smoking pork ribs. Burger-who records as The Modernist, The Bionaut, et al-tends to marry juicy Cologne techno melodies (? la D.Diggler or Basic Channel) with strong guitar accents, which requires special attention when mixed together. Sometimes the musical meat gets overcooked and dry, as on the last Modernist album, 2000's microhouse-inspired Explosion. Other times, it's a bland IDM affair like The Bionaut's Lubricate Your Living-room, which, while full of fine melodies, falls flat due to dull Boards of Canada-styled engineering. But sometimes Burger is right on the money, as with Kangmei. True succulence is a thing rarely achieved in pork ribs or music, but-like Burger's 1996 collaboration with Mike Ink, Las Vegas-Kangmei strikes the perfect balance of wistful synth melodies with a dash of brooding ambience. The ribald house bass of "A Goldberg Violation" sizzles underneath a conservative synth melody; "Kodac Moments" bursts with rich bell tones and a plucky Black Dog rhythm. stands out via the vocal element on "Kangmei Pt.1 & 2" and "Protest Song," both of which offer delicate combinations of electronic pop overtones and strident Cologne techno aesthetics. The only thing lacking on Kangmei is a good dipping sauce.

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