As we slowly trudge through this year’s early winter into a bright and promising 2015, it feels like the world is becoming more and more interconnected. The Internet gives us, humans, the power to create a universal identity that transcends national borders and bonds people together by something more original, their humanity. Electronic music is no different. What was once a genre that was almost exclusively popular in Europe is now accepted, revered, and loved in the United States. And as we, namely Americans, deepen our appreciation for electronic music, we extend our sight over both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans to search for creative, unique, and talented electronic acts to listen to. Electronic music is becoming a common ground for people of all cultures, evidenced by vast, international audiences music festivals like TomorrowLand. Here at More Than The Melody, we recognize the power of electronic music and would like to dedicate our next few features to electronic acts that we think will rise to international stardom in the years to come. We hope you enjoy.
Our first featured artists come from the humble and modest nation of Austria. They are Klangkarussell, which in German means “Sound Carousel”. This duo, made up of Tobias Rieser and Adrian Held, was formed around 2011. The two were great friends in high school and had not seen each other for a long time before reuniting in their hometown of Salzberg and rediscovering their love of music.
What they have achieved in the years since they conceived Klangkarussell is very impressive. Their signature sound is so diverse that to even call it signature is contradictory in itself. The two Austrians, who grew up listening to their parents’ Pink Floyd and Mike Oldfield records, as well as various folk artists, were also promoting clubs in Salzburg when they were 15 years old. Held even began DJing parties when he was about 16. It’s important to recognize this information when listening to Klangkarussell because all their influences are hiding in plain sight if you look close enough.
For example, let’s take a listen to their hit song “Sonnentanz”, German for “Sun Dance”. This song, released as an official single in 2012, was what quickly propelled Klangkarussell towards international recognition. It features flexing synthesizer melodies that drive the song and offer a sharp, yet comfortable contrast against the blaring horns. The song clearly stakes its roots in house music. But there’s so much more going on than just house, especially because “Sonnentanz” is wrapped up perfectly by flittering jazz flute licks, playful, yet ominous xylophone solos, and clean electric guitar riffs. These organic sounds and ideas provide an interesting counter to the artificial components of the song, creating a fantastic dichotomy that is an absolute pleasure on the ears. “Sonnentanz” was released a second time in 2013, this time featuring vocals from British soul singer Will Heard. Heard places the cherry on top, his bluesy, metaphorical lamentations of love declaring the song complete. It’s clear that Klangkarussell is not your average, everyday electronic act. Their influences come from all corners of the musical spectrum and they are not afraid to take a risk. More importantly, when they do, they make it work.
But it’s not just “Sonnentanz” that makes Klangkarussell stand out. The group released their debut album Netzwerk in 2014 and it is really worth your time, even if you just give it one listen. The production value on every song is really stellar and Klangkarussell gives their listeners something fresh to listen to with each track. I really like “Celebrate”, and “Sternenkinder”, two very danceable jams with darker undertones that are still very upbeat. Netzwerk is a full package. The album plays through very well as party music, study music, or just background noise. Check it out.
Klangkarussell is shaped by international influences and as long as Rieser and Held continue to blend together various sounds to create their own distinctive brand, they will make themselves a recognizable name. Klangkarusell isn’t afraid to take a risk in their music, so you shouldn’t be afraid to take one on them.
By David Cooper