Imaginative and cinematic. Delicate and fully fleshed out. Immersive and enrapturing. Gentle and up close. Alive. These are just a few simple adjectives that only just touch upon describing Roman Flügel's new album All the Right Noises on Dial Records.
This German producer is no newcomer, with over a quarter of a century's worth of credits, including plenty of works to his name in a wide variety of genres from techno to deep house. If he is new to you, then All the Right Noises is a wonderful introduction.
For some, the record can be considered a notable departure from his usual stylings. It's a sentiment I agree with, as it's decisively a step far afield of the dancefloor to which he's strongly associated. Yet, his movement towards something more intimate ends up being triumphant.
All the Right Noises is not an ambient album, although it does pacify me in a way only Aphex Twin's ambient works know how. The album dabbles with plenty of four to the floor beats, but it is very far from the sounds that soundtrack the hubbub of a party's intoxicating merrymaking.
It is an album that is pensive, thoughtful and alive. It gives you a chance to just be. It can be an adventure for some, a great focuser enhancer for others, or it can just be beautiful. There is a vibrant mind, working in the depths of this album in what I imagine as a dark cavern that vacillates from the darkest black to shimmering colors.
Roman Flügel's All the Right Noises caught my attention in a big way at the tail end of 2016, and it is something I could go on about for quite some time. Now, before I go too far into my own interpretation of this work, I was fortunate to share a few questions with Mr. Roman Flügel and hear what he had to say himself.
So, we'll go with a simple start. Does All the Right Noises in fact have all the right noises?
In fact, it does not. But the Album as an idea itself has.
This album has an air of intimacy, calm about it. It is gentle in all the right ways, and extremely emotive. How would you recommend people listen to this album?
I don’t recommend anything specific since everyone should make own decisions. But for me it works best as an Album in full length. I enjoy listening to it from beginning to end to get carried away by the different musical moods and nuances. And I think you’re right because even though the tracks are varied in texture, sound and tempo there’s an overall feeling of calm that I was trying to achieve. It’s about getting to the essence of what you trying to express.
Contextually speaking, where does this album fall in the Roman Flügel catalog? Is this a departure? Is it an evolution?
It’s part three on an originally unplanned trilogy for Dial records. After the release of ‘Fatty Folders’ and ‘Happiness Is Happening’ I was searching for more ways to paint audible pictures without actually singing or saying a word. Club music wasn’t in my focus obviously even though it still resonates in some of the tracks. It might be the final part of a trilogy put it is certainly a departure for something else since I had a growing feeling of inner freedom during the work on the album.
I understand you used fewer notes for this album, avoiding superfluous elements and no gimmicks. I'm not saying it's minimal, but what was your intention with this approach?
Intimacy. Most people have the tendency to show off here and there to build some kind of wall around them. And I’m no exception from this. This time I took decisions faster leaving things unperfected when I thought the general feeling was right just to keep the music more vital. I’ve realized how my perspective changed once I allowed the music to be created without the need to show how good I know the software. And I did quite a few sessions without too much quantizing and rather do edits afterwards instead of thinking much about the perfect arrangement in front of my computer screen.
Was this album a challenge to yourself to focus on the essence of the songs you were trying to make? Reaching the core of what you wear hearing inside your mind and bringing it into reality?
Generally spoken yes. But there’s also something inside of everyone that can’t be expressed in words. That’s when music becomes a kind of a valve for your subconsciousness.
Do you have a guiding musical philosophy? Essentially, do you have certain values that help you compose your music that you would care to share?
I’m trying to explore new things in my studio. After 25 years there are still thousands of options left to create and build a track. I never want to become cynical about what I’m doing and if there is one thing I also do not want express in music it is cynicism. I’d rather create something that is leaving some space for imagination and is still hard to describe sometimes, hopefully.