Review: Tosca "Odeon" via !K7

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On their 1993 EP G-Stoned Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister had the temerity to ape Simon & Garfunkel's Bookends album cover. The homage succinctly conveyed the Viennese producers' "deep thoughts, light touch" approach to acid jazz and trip hop in a single, cheeky gesture. While they winked at the past on the outside, on the inside K&D focused their sonic vision sharply on the future. After a series of era-defining remixes for everyone from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to Madonna, the blunted beat masters went their own ways. In 1995 Dorfmeister devoted himself to Tosca with lifelong friend, electronic composer Rupert Huber.

tosca

From the 1997 debut Opera, it was clear that Tosca were more of a downtempo disco outfit (see "Chocolate Elvis"). On subsequent albums and remix collections including the standouts Suzuki and Fuck Dub, Tosca polished their cosmopolitan sound. While albums like Dehli9 and J.A.C. didn't resonate too deeply with fans, they did establish a recognizable Tosca aesthetic. On Odeon, Dorfmeister & Huber's sixth album in sixteen years, the Tosca sound is unmistakeable. Its thirteen songs synthesize familiar styles—nu-jazz ("What If"), boss nova ("Stuttgart"), baroque funk ("In My Brain Prinze Eugen"), dubby disco ("Heatwave"). They also experiment with darker beats ("Jayjay," "Meixner") and more atmospheric soundscapes ("Zur Guten Ambience," "Bonjour"). A deeper dive into the somber moods and broken rhythms would undoubtedly give the album a stronger kick. As is, Odeon is meticulously produced, occasionally captivating, and no less welcome for its familiarity.

Odeon is out February 5th via !K7 and you can pre-order it here.

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