Review | Robag Wruhme | Thora Vukk

Robag Wruhme

tech•no \tek-nõ\ n + chill•out \ chil-aût \ vb

Trying to precisely delineate Robag Wruhme’s sound is a challenge for even the most astute hairsplitters. Is it techno? Is it chillout? Is it minimal? Is it micro? The electronic-music elite could no doubt spend as much time debating these qualities as this German producer spent toiling over his latest work. Which is to say seven years, the gap between his 2004 debut, Wuzzelbud KK, and Thora Vukk.

It’s not that he’s been idle all this time. He’s released a steady string of singles for every minimal techno label worth its weight in understated bleeps. And as one half of the Wighnomy Brothers (“Why-no-me”), with Monkey Maffia (a partnership now sadly defunct), he racked up consistent critical accolades for moving dance floors with as few moving pieces as possible.

The most impressive advance in his productions comes from the sheer weight of found sounds he’s added to his library, and then constructed into finely tuned and cinematic electronic listening music. The title track begins with the sound of Jetsons-like hover cars cruising across the stereo spectrum. As it builds, Wruhme threads heartfelt soul through a rhythm of sharp thwacks, tinny clicks and lightly brushed snare hits. The source material for these beats—here and elsewhere on the record—comes from creaking floors and slamming doors, plastic bags, schoolchildren and even a cell phone left to vibrate on a kitchen counter.

On “Pnom Gobal,” a half-time skank from a jazz kit shares the track with tropical marimba, Jackie Gleason lounge strings and humming that could only be described as, well, pleasant. This is not Detroit techno. The music on Thora Vukk was born in that same dark cyber world, but when Wruhme came along he brought the sun with him. It’s this beauty-and-the-beast quality that propels this release past his 2004 effort and puts it in the running for one of the stand-out minimalist albums of the year.

—Joshua P. Ferguson

Listen to the full release at Pampa Records' Soundcloud page, and check out this DJ mix Wruhme did just last month:

 Robag Wruhme - ClashMusic Dj Mix Podcast - June 2011 by R_co


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