Benedikt Frey Artificial ESP Institute
Much has been made of the painstaking process behind Benedikt Frey’s debut album Artificial. The line goes that the time and care the German producer took over the two years to create the record set it apart from current trends, in which producers, particularly of electronic music, churn out tracks and paint by numbers. This seems a bit of a stretch. A collection of moody, chuggy rollers doesn’t feel all that revolutionary, nor ‘abstract’ as the press notes claim. Saying that, it’s pretty great. There’s the odd mis-step where a vocal falls flat (see lead single H is for Hysteria) but generally this is a collection of tunes that are satisfyingly meaty, dripping with sleaze. With just enough variety to allow each track to take on its own significance, Artificial functions well as an LP – something which always warrants congratulations with dance music.
Some of the highlights include the pounding acid and insatiable kicks of Push, a delightfully loose bassline and nods to The X Files on Roads of Jazz, plus the hollow dubstep and Gregorian chants of Private Crimes. Best of all is the mournful saxophone slithering all over Hang Loose. A menacing, sexy and robust debut.