Oliver Doerell - Cummi Flu

The feeling that Cummi Flu gives off is that of Doerell as a maniacal curator of a museum that's stuffed to the seams with strange and arcane objets trouvés.


Modern German music? Well, everyone knows about Krautrock, everyone knows about Neue Deutsche Welle, some people even know Bert and Cindy. I'd go one further and say that this past decade has been a truly great one for left-field electronica/modern classical/dance music from Germany. Labels like M=Minimal, Monika, Morr, Staubgold, Karaoke Kalk, Keep it Business, Erased Tapes and City Centre Offices (not to mention artists like Frahm and Hauschka) have effectively created a new, urban and very attractive sound that draws on traditional and technological disciplines as well as a playful forward thinking music that is there to entertain, music that is at ease with itself. What's also really great about the last 15-20 years or so are the émigrée musicians who've sensed that there is a new head-space in the country's music, moved to Berlin, or Koln or Leipzig(or wherever the muse takes them) and tried to soak up the vibes and spit them back out in musical form. Take Oliver Doerell; a Belgian gent who lives in Berlin and plays with Swod and Dictaphone. He's done just that.

This is as fine example of "German urban music" as you could wish to hear; mirroring many urban concerns and changes. Even the bits that come on as Belgian (there is a strong echo of Belgium in some of the music here folks; and calling tracks Leopold doesn't exactly ward off suspicions that Doerell is in some way addressing his own land on this LP). Regardless of national tropes, this is a bloody fine release and you should hunt it down. Z is a tribal chant drawing on urban, electronica, avant-garde and that C21st European inclination for representing tribal or ethnic beats. Sheree is a marvellously itchy work out, looking towards Toulouse Low Trax, Connie Schnitzler and John Chantler in equal measure. Leopold sounds like a museum full of weird exhibits coming awake at night; the tabla and the clapping beat kicking matters into another dimension entirely.

It's a ghostly record; a crepuscular record, a wee bit fatalistic in that Belgian, "Bruges-la-Morte" way. Listen to the kids' voices on Watersong and you do wonder what time we're in. 154, Gulabigang and B are other surreal trips into the psyche, or brilliant essays in over-complicating or over-analysing the act of doing nothing. Doerell's music truly is that to stare out of windows to. There is a certain eccentricity present as well; 7 and J flop and skip around in very engaging and skittish way, mucking about behind our backs. There is a certain quality of dissonance present; maybe it's my perception of the music, but whilst listening to B or In, everything feels disconnected and frayed. That's not to say this LP hasn't been meticulously compiled and worked over. It obviously has. Rather the feeling that Cummi Flu gives off is that of Doerell as a maniacal curator of a museum that's stuffed to the seams with strange and arcane objets trouvés.  

Most of all though, it's a superbly entertaining and ever-giving listen. A bit like the work of Toulouse Low Trax, where nothing seems to happen at first listen, but on further inspection you notice lots of nourishing incremental or micro-incidences are going on under your nose. Fantastic.