September 30, 2009

Traum Schallplatten various artists - Traum 100 (2008)

Traum Schallplatten is a minimal/ambient/abstract techno label in Cologne, Germany run by Jacqueline Klein and DJ Riley Reinhold, better known (to me) as Triple R. Triple R produced a very deep and trippy house mix called "Friends" for Kompakt in '02, featuring moody and melodic tracks by artists from several local labels, including Traum. I can't recall if I heard "Friends" first or the excellent '01 Traum compilation "Elektronische Musik - Interkontinental", but both made a lasting impression and introduced me to many top-notch house and ambient artists. Some favorites of mine were Broker/Dealer, a duo from San Francisco with a great '80s analog sound, the hypnotic arpeggiating textures of Philippe Cam and Waki, Tomas Jirku's psychedelic found-sound minimalism, Anton Kubikov, better known as SCSI-9, and Oxtongue, who later produced the first Kompakt Pop 12". Many of the artists hopped around between labels, including Traum's sub-labels Trapez and My Best Friend, and while I followed Kompakt, Traum and a few others pretty closely from around '02 until '05, I'm not *made of money* and eventually I was overwhelmed by the massive output coming from Cologne. However, in the past year or so I have been getting back into following, if not always buying, current house releases. Last summer, Traum celebrated their 100th release and 10 year anniversary with the "Traum 100" compilation, featuring new tracks by many of the same artists I had loved on those older collections; Broker/Dealer, Fairmont, Process, klick-meister Thomas Brinkmann, and some more recent minimal stars like Minilogue, Moonbeam and Gabriel Ananda. The sound is deep and mellow, with chilled out synthesizer sequences and a jazzy swing in the grooves, and a heavier focus on minimal grooves than I recall from earlier releases. There are definite similarities to Kompakt's trance-influenced melodics and experimentalism, which is understandable as the music all came from the same scene, but Traum offers their own unique spin on futuristic ambient/house crossovers and abstractions.