REVIEW Tuff City Kids ‘Remixes, Vol. 2’ [Permanent Vacation]

Tuff City Kids, made up of Gerd Janson and Phillip Lauer, have just released ‘Remixes, Vol. 2’, and it’s stacked. Contributing artists include Benjamin Fröhlich, one half label-owner of Permanent Vacation, as well as high profile names Marcel Dettmann and Roman Flügel. And if the names haven’t grabbed your attention, the tracks themselves will.

While ‘Scared (Marcel Dettmann Remix)’ may begin with a techno beat, an electro vibe shortly follows. Quick 32nd notes lace between ‘shhh’s, softening the beat until its almost unrecognizable and pitched synthesizer tone pulses, moving a semi-tone higher, and moving a tone lower, while echoing, synth-pop vocals emerge. Despite the tracks name, the upbeat tempo and laidback vocals seems familiar and not even a bit like the emotion one has while facing something menacing.

Neither does ‘R-Mancer (Roman Fluegel’s K-Lauer Mix)’, for that matter. The chromatic melodic pattern, using non-traditional scale notes creates an unfinished, slightly unnerving feeling, but nothing to cause fear. The sub-bass isn’t overwhelming; in fact it adds the perfect amount of off-beat pulses, increasing the tracks rhythm. Irregular sample sounds, or altered synth notes creak in the background – they clang and groan in the furthest reaches of our ear. But this is all prelude stuff, because the track really emerges when the horn-sounding synth notes appear. Open notes, with fuzzy exteriors, they materialized out of nowhere but linger in your mind for twice as long.

Tell Me (Benjamin Fröhlich Long Journey Remix)’ is a delicately stripped down, vocal heavy track. It begins with a galloping bass beat, punctuated by splashes of note-clusters, and accentuated by crunchy samples that creak back and forth. When the vocals tell us to ‘come a little closer’, we do. Leaning in, we hear the vocalist breath between lines, which adds a human element often excluded in electronic tracks. The second time around, a second voice is added two octaves lower, almost eerily synced. Still the racing beat continues, never wavering, pushing us through this lengthy ‘Long Journey Remix’. A little over halfway we hear a twist. A turn in that both voices rise an octave or two, and acid lines waft higher and higher, taking us to the end.

The tracks ‘Nordo (SCB Inversion)’, ‘Thoramium (Original Mix)’, and ‘Tell Me (Benjamin Frölich Short Trip Version)’ are not reviewed but can be listened to below.

Tuff City Kids ‘Remixes, Vol. 2’ was released on February 23rd, 2018 on Permanent Vacation. (Tess)