REVIEW Keinemusik (Rampa, Adam Port, &ME) ‘You Are Safe’ [Keinemusik]

The Keinemusik super-trio, Rampa, Adam Port and &ME, are back, and this time with a 10-track, almost 1-hour album that contains many different sounding tracks but with an audible cohesion between them. Containing two highly anticipated singles, ‘Muyè’ and ‘Civilist’, it features vocals of other Berlin based artists, and just the right amount of electronic versus live touch.

While the tone evoked in Track 1, the self-titled track ‘You are Safe’, is not one of comfort and safety, we know we are in good hands. We, as listeners, have committed ourselves to whatever journey the Keinemusik boys have created for us, and with no prescribed notions or biases; with minds wide open and eyes glued shut, we begin.

Café de Schicksals’ is a strong start to the album. Its lush rhythm and bass notes remind us who we’re dealing with, while the minimal vocals give us a blank canvas from which to begin our journey. A casual daytime hangout in the heart of Berlin, or a slightly ominous, bell-adorned Track 2 – there’s evidence to suggest both.

Close on the heels of the previous track, ‘Civilist’ unfolds. Calculated track placement at its best, the dance floor banger not only plays to the dark tone of the first track, it preserves the bells and chimes of it also, while further developing the bass notes and elaborating the entrancing rhythms. A full-bodied track that demands movement from just that – our full bodies, ‘Civilist’ is already a dance floor favourite in the underground music scene.

From here, we begin on a vocal-filled, heartfelt journey with ‘Guilt Trip’ and ‘Up and Down feat. Chiara Noriko’. The former has a swaying, snake-charmer type rhythm pattern; while the latter has a more prominent bass line melody, but both add a human feel just when we need it. A fellow Berlin citizen, Noriko has lent her R&B/jazz style voice to the track with much success. Slightly more minimal in orchestration than previous tracks, it assumes a conduit role, reorienting the listener to another section of the album.

After a slate-clean, if you will, from Noriko’s acoustic-sounding vocals, the most highly anticipated track of the album is introduced. Showcased by Dixon himself at this year’s Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), it’s a gentle reminder than one of musician’s greatest talents is the ability to communicate through music. Our mood is putty in their hands; from the clear and clean solitary fortepiano chords to the soul lifting synthesizer pads, our imagination knows no limits. The uninhibited and innocent vocals rise up in tone, free of connotation or association, blanketing us with anonymity, as music knows no / music has no biases.

Jennifer Touch’s delicate, ethereal voice coupled with the background sound of rushing water is the perfect gentle nudge we needed to return back from the trip that is ‘Muyè’. ‘Lover’ is as gentle and true as a lover should be. Soft, whisper-like vocals rise and fall above the sounds of running water, while electro-style synth notes pluck and pop below. The second of three vocal-adorned tracks, Jennifer Touch is known for her retro/electro vibes, something the trio did a good job of preserving and reinterpreting. Her voice adds an airy element that nicely contrasts the bold sound of Noriko in ‘Up and Down’ and the throaty sounds of Nomi Ruiz on the closing track.

MBH’, another homage to their fair city, is slightly angsty and disorienting. Muted and muffled vocals, chanting almost, use up a lot of our auditory capacity, running circles in our brains. Pleasing piano chords attempt to soothe us, but the electric guitar riffs and unrelenting rhythm continues to tease us.

Operator’ gives us one last taste of club-sound Keinemusik – rich percussion and rhythm with just the right amount of melody. Perfectly placed second to last, the track rises and falls, but does more falling as if trying to wean us off of the music before the album ends. A trudging, static-y bass line rumbles onward, not quite monotone, ending the track cleanly.

The closing track ‘Bumper’ is a smooth send-off. Showcasing the rich, fluid voice of Nomi Ruiz, it plays to the R&B vibe heard here and there throughout the album. There is a nice balance between electronic and acoustic – a peaceful battle between a live voice and synthesizer melodies; between percussion instruments and drum patterns. On the calmer spectrum of this album it is soulful and heartfelt, ending the journey with a very human touch.

Keinemusik (Rampa, Adam Port, &ME) – ‘You Are Safe’ is released November 24th, 2017 on Keinemusik. (Tess)