Review: Legowelt - Crystal Cult 2080

2014-03-22
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For a producer notorious for manifold aliases that he's used over the years, keeping up with Danny Wolfers is not exactly the most easy thing to do. Just look them up if you will: Polarius, Smackos, Raheem Hersel, Squadra Blanco, Nacho Patrol, Gladio, Klaus Weltman, Salamandos, Venom 18, Franz Falckenhaus, Phalangius, Jackmaster Corky...the list goes on by the way...

But whether it be the  African-influenced output of Nacho Patrol, or the somewhat 'surfer-house' leanings of Trackman Lafonte & Bonquiqui, make no mistake about it, Wolfers is probably one of the most under-rated and hardest working producers in electronic music today. From his first first vinyl release for Unit’s label, Bunker Records, which became an instant cult hit, to seminal tracks like  the unstoppable “Disco Rout” to the imagined soundtracks on his Strange Life Record, this Dutchman from the Hague, began producing music since the early 1990s after he came in contact with the sounds of Detroit's Underground Resistance, Model 500, Blake Baxter (probably his all-time favourite producer) and Chicago heroes such as Farley Jackmaster Funk, Armando Gallop and Mr. Fingers.

Later on this palette of influences grew with early µ-Ziq, Aphex Twin, Drexciya, various releases from the Irdial Discs label. He marks his major influence as 'Unit Moebius' after he heard them on the radio. He describes their sound as "a punky palette of RAW freaked out Lo-fi Chicago trax and deep detroit jams made with machines which were found next to the garbage can".

On his massive output, as he so boldly puts it, "some people get dismayed because I release three records a month, like how some wankers hate on L.I.E.S. records because they think they release too many. Why the hell would you get upset because a label releases a lot of records? You gotta be some frustrated asshole if you got problems with that. Isn't it the job of a label to release records?" Let's not even get to the remixes he's done for artists over the years (I'll let you look that up).

'Crystal Cult 2080' is the latest offering from this visceral producer, and possible trans-dimensional being, Danny Wolfers, known to most, now, as Legowelt; the moniker itself, being the direct German translation, simply meaning, World of Lego, which Danny claims he chose for no particular reason. He had announced the impending release of his 'Crystal Cult 2080' LP from as far back as October of last year. And despite dropping a muggy four-track EP as a taster, the album appeared to slip off the radar, with nothing forthcoming by the end of the year.

However, Wolfers has recently revealed that the album, is now set to surface in late March this year. The album, a 10 tracker, that is also set to be released on Vinyl as well as on cassette and other digital formats, (the digital format's bearing two bonus tracks) is named after Wolfers’ beloved Roland JV2080 synth, while the 'Crystal' part stands for the self-made DIY germanium crystal compressor that was used in the production of this album as a whole, and was recorded around the world, with tracks laid down in Los Angeles, Detroit, Tokyo and Gran Canaria, amongst other places. It also comes off the back of a couple of more than decent 12"s for L.I.E.S. and fledgling Spanish imprint Riverette.

His return to the Crème family, comes two years on, after his first self-relesed album in 2011,The Teac Life, and his more recent, second release, The Paranormal Soul, on Clone in 2012, This latest offering, takes a deeper and darker approach to Wolfers distinct acid drenched sound. On working with Crème again, Wolfers says "I have been with Crème since the day it started in 2000; it's one of my 'home' labels. I've released more than 20 records on there now. A lot of bigger labels wanted to release this, but I didn't feel like working with any corporate bullshit of fermented worn-out dance industry corpses, so I just send it to TLR and he was like, 'Okay, cool, let's do this"."

Danny also explains why he references the Roland JV2080 synth in his album's title, saying, "It's a cool synthesizer that goes pretty deep. It's a digital synth from the '90s that's really cheap nowadays 'cause all the kids want analogue stuff. But with machines like these you can make more mysterious, interesting sounds. It's not bound by the usual analogue 'pwioooo bloop bleep' sounds. I use a lot of analogue synths, too—I am not anti that at all, I love those things—but sonically analogue synthesizers can become quite boring quickly."



As a matter of fact, right from the very start, ‘Crystal Cult 2080′ drags you into the deepest realms of occult electronic music with tracks rigged with moody basslines, hypnotizing arps and flowing grooves. Take the opening track 'Experiential Awakening', as a clear example of how Legowelt’s signature sound shimmers and shines through each and every bar of it's entire eight minutes and eight second onslaught as Wolfers layers mystic and fuzzy atmospherics over melodic synth lines, spoken vocals and driving beats.

As the album presses on, it soon becomes apparent that we’re dealing with another extraordinary piece of Legowelt fantasm here. 'Ancient Rites Demoni Mundi' is Wolfers furnishing his rhythmic parchment further, with dark haunting melodies, mind-boggling hypnotic sound patterns, trippy waves and staccato grooves. 'Excalibur R8MK2' and  'Psychotic Endurance' journey deeper into Legowelt's world of the occult, mythical and supernatural crossing latitudes, attitudes, sonic borders and spatial reason.

Never intending to slow down even for a minute, he unleashes another haunting piece of dark, spacey mastery with the almost ritualistic 'How I Live' following that with what seems to be a mission statement in 'The Future Of Myself'; another hauntingly dreamy, breathtaking synth-textured excursion. If you think that an Amygdala hijack is imminent here, at this particular point, you wouldn't be far wrong, but it's not really quite finished yet.

'Fundamental Superstition' continues in pace, as the entire album has thus far. This being one of the album's less darker tracks, but still bearing the sonic signature of the sound and synth nerd that Wolfer's professes himself to be. The album's title track 'Crystal Cult 2080' veers back into darker and sinew snapping territory flooding those visceral rhythms with a thick dark ooze of pads, synths, hazy effects and hints of sweet, beckoning, impish vocal seduction, but thankfully, just hints.

When 'The Spring Comes Again' continues on that infectious floor on the floor path, swirling, hypnotic strings, synths, voices and acid lines that all come together captivatingly, gently building and culminating into an infectious groove of euphoric and great evocative power.

'Cyberspace Is Still Happenin' For Real' which closes off this vinyl edition of the album isn't as one expects either. Instead of ebbing into ambient calm, it brings the listner into to more unadulterated chaos, whether voluntary or involuntary, it doesn't really matter now, because the journey is almost complete and by Wolfer's fundamental philosophy of synthesis and sound - "the sound I wanted to achieve was a sonically colourful palette with lots of saturated warm sounds, to cultivate the listener's inner harmony and fantasy. A compact selection of songs, no fillers, packed with heat. You get everything from energetic kung fu techno, to sensual fairytale flute trips, to the ancient magick scales of notorious alchemists."

'Crystal Cult 2080′ is quite a piece of work really. it is in every way a brilliant album. And again, if you we're in someway to look at it as a 'concept' album again in some respects, you needn't seek any absolution for that view. But in many respects it's so much more. It's trippy when it needs to be, impish in some places. Haunting? Definitely. Spiritual? In many ways. Runneth over with plenty of organic lushness too. Wolfers has crafted something that's probably going to be appreciated beyond this galaxy as well. It's probably by far Legowelt’s most mysterious, supernatural and ritual work to date.

Tracklist
01. Experiential Awakening
02. Ancient Rites Demoni Mundi
03. Excalibure R8MK2
04. Psychotic Endurance
05. How I Live
06. The Future Of Myself
07. Fundamental Superstition
08. Crystal Cult 2080
09. When The Spring Comes Again
10. Cyberspace Is Still Happenin' For Real
11. Lighthouses & Fried Fish Disks
12. Distant Meadow In Your Soul 

Crystal Cult 2080 will be released in late March 2014. Pre-order: www.godspill.net/collections/lego…rystal-cult-2080