Aigners Inventur: September & Oktober 2023

The pop discourse is non-existent, the culture saturated with TikTok: Our columnist exercises Balearic lassitude in the face of such resistance and finds the blandest record of the year somewhere between OG Keemo, Slowdive and Tzusing. Including among others.

Travis Scott
Sony • 2023 • from 20.99€

On »Utopia«, Travis Scott remains the most faceless figure in rap music, inheriting his success from Kanye's self-dismantling, Young Thug's Rico time out and Drake's overpresence. Nonetheless, throughout the album he repeatedly accentuates on that his real talent lies is his ability to adapt his branding rather than develop innovative ideas. 

Florian Aigner
Larry June & The Alchemist
The Great Escape
Empire • 2023 • from 37.99€

Larry June has played his way into becoming one of the top Alchemist collaborators in recent years through his constant availability, iron lung and hustle play after hustle play. »The Great Escape« highlights the duo's strengths, with June's classic West Coast delivery standing out the most. Alchemist produces a sequence of omnipresent blaxploitation loopiness and yacht romanticism that constantly seems a bit more timeless than that of other still-active First Ballot Hall Of Famers. 

Florian Aigner
OG Keemo
Chimperator • 2023 • from 28.99€

Not a review, barely even a prophecy: Friday sees the release of OG Keemo's new mixed tape featuring Funkvater Frank and if the pre-release tracks are anything to go by, »Fieber« will be, as always, the best thing to be released this year in the German, if not global, rap scene.  

Florian Aigner
Sferic • 2023 • from 27.99€

Sferic has gone even further out on a limb with Yungwebster, but the slowed-down Syruprap is exactly what was needed following the last Space Afrika album to maintain the Manchester label's unbeatable position that it has secured for itself over the last few years for at least another five years. The most tired record of the year, it is essential for that reason alone.  

Florian Aigner
Voice Actor
Fake Sleep
STROOM 〰 • 2023 • from 28.99€

A certain underlying nervousness creeps into the blandness of Voice Actor that gives this insane digital collection of what feels like 900 songs a peg that makes it almost impossible to have the same uncanny experience in traditional recording format. Nevertheless: even when trimmed down to 16 tracks, »Fake Sleep« is one of the albums of the year.  

Florian Aigner
Domino • 2023 • from 29.99€

For me, Tirzah's »Colourgrade« is perhaps the defining pop album of this young decade so far. »Trip9love...???« represents a surprising encore on which Tirzah and Mica Levi intentionally come up with themes and beats on a micro level, creating a repetitive effect that – by other means – is reminiscent in places on DJ Python's »Mas Amables«, which is steadily maturing into an enduring masterpiece.  

Florian Aigner
Der Assistent
Der Assistent
Papercup • 2023 • from 24.99€

The North Rhine-Westphalia scene has brought forth numerous hip German records in recent years, which have thrilled me with their presence. However, they have also left me with the impression that the post-post-post-DAF movement may have reached its end. Somehow even cooler, despite its meta-internet presence, this album by Der Assistent is a real tearjerker. Der Assistent seem to have a pop sensibility, allowing them to almost stumble across the German version of »Why Can't We Live Together« multiple times on this record.  

Florian Aigner
Ricardo Dias Gomes
Muito Sol
Hive Mind • 2023 • from 22.99€

My relationship with Bossa Nova is complicated, but blame me for that. And if, like Ricardo Dias Gomes on »Muito Sol«, you interrupt this trippy elegance with all kinds of irritating moments, and cabbage patch and psych are enshrined as further themes, and you think fado is a downer, then you still get excited. Annual best list shit is what everyone would say and they'd be right. 

Florian Aigner
bar italia
Tracey Denim
Matador • 2023 • from 28.99€

Bar Italia are so untouchably cool that even a switch from world music to Matador and the residual risk of wintering in the Urban Outfitters playlist won't change the band's status. Depending on the generation, different areas of identification dominate in this immaculately arranged indie album; those who hear 1981, 1996, 2007 and 2023 are all equally correct. »Tracey Denim« is the record that Carla Dal Forno no longer needs to make. 

Florian Aigner
Everything Is Alive
Dead Oceans • 2023 • from 27.99€

The resurgence of Slowdive, following a round of re-releases and a general resurgence in the pop discussion that eluded me, has now culminated in its most precarious moment: the sophomore album after the reunion. Nevertheless, »Everything Is Alive« emerges from a band newly acquainted with real-time appreciation, so this album, with all its reverb-drenched, Slowdive-esque vibes, feels unencumbered by expectations. It probably also helps to know that everyone recognises the band after the first four chords anyway.  

Florian Aigner
Philipp Otterbach
The Dahlem Diaries
Music From Memory • 2023 • from 26.99€

A tribute to Philipp Otterbach usually starts with a lengthy paragraph about his impressive ability to create texture and – um – mood through mixing music as a DJ. However, following his double album release in early autumn, equal attention has to be given to his own music productions. »The Dahlem Diaries« is Otterbach's introspective guitar album, which, despite being released on MFM, is distinctively different from the sea-inspired romanticism of Gaussian Curve and similar artists. Otterbach remains more brusque, more fragmented, a monochromatic, Bergmannesque version of Balearic blandness.  

Florian Aigner
Piotr Kurek
Peach Blossom
Mondoj • 2023 • from 27.99€

Meanwhile, Piotr Kurek combines formalism with auto-tune jazz, »Peach Blossom« is one of those rare records that does not conceal its art exhibition genesis under a bushel, but detached from its original context, seems even more virtuoso, because it is only here that the music completely emancipates itself from all its endeavours.  

Florian Aigner
Irreversible Entanglements
Protect Your Light
Impulse! • 2023 • from 28.99€

Moor Mother reimagines jazz in a unique way, as the frontwoman of Irreversible Entanglements with a focus on classical politics, using it as a means of emancipation from systemic racism and following in the footsteps of Civil Rights icons. However, it also has a punk edge that reflects the subsequent generation. »Protect Your Light« is therefore a blend of retro and futuristic styles that is always unconventional.  

Florian Aigner
Chris Abrahams, Oren Ambarchi & Robbie Avenaim
Ideologic Organ • 2023 • from 26.99€

When I recently asked my colleague Kuhzart to listen to »Placelessness« digitally, he boldly replied that he instantly felt three decades older, a backhanded compliment, but one that mainly expresses how grandfatherly Chris Abrahams, Oren Ambarchi & Robbie Avenaim combine classic droney ambient with spiritual jazz here. Would have been good in 1977, is good in 2023 and will be good in 2055.

Florian Aigner
KMRU, Abul Mogard
Drawing Water
A Sunken Mall / Vaknar • 2023 • from 24.99€

And yet another LP that takes its ambient mission seriously, but in the long run contains too many elements to age as a mere ASMR substitute. KMRU & Abul Mogard perhaps find the best description for their music themselves with the title »Drawing Water« - an album for November.

Florian Aigner
Minor Science
Absent Friends Vol.III
Balmat • 2023 • from 26.99€

We delve into ambient territory once again here, but this time with a live improvisation from a producer who previously focused on every conceivable BPM range possible for his abstract club tracks. On »Absent Friends Vol. III«, the obligatory beat-free record is amplified by various technerd explanations to make a grander artistic statement than it really is. That's not to say that Minor Science has suddenly lost his flair for creating rich synth arpeggios and flashy textures, but he's largely playing against his real strengths here, which happen to be in drum programming.  

Florian Aigner
Yuku • 2023 • from 25.99€

Here's good hint for you: »Mimoto« is an impressive floor record, even when played in your own four walls, because Lazarus blasts without blasting. Regardless of whether its foundation is made up of D&B, grime, garage, rave or hard drum: every track seems remarkably well thought out and liberated of efficiency. Front stage stuff, for sure. 7 

Florian Aigner
Green Hat
Pan • 2023 • from 26.99€

Tzusing has been around for more than ten years now, a span of time that seems almost uncanny for dance music producers today, but one that can be explained in terms of kitchen psychology by the time you read a Tzusing interview, if not before. »Green Hat« is perhaps the most innovative, fuck-you album from one of the last MFs in an increasingly tiktokised (sub)culture, and the cuck reference in the title is an absolutely hilarious swipe at his own father. 

Florian Aigner

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