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Thomas Fehlmann “Gute Luft” (Kompakt)

Anyone familiar with Thomas Fehlmann’s solo work on Kompakt or his tenure with The Orb will likely not be surprised by this soundtrack he did for a documentary TV programme in Germany. From the opening staccato, delayed chords of “Alles, Immer,” there is something incredibly comforting and familiar about this music. Fehlmann has reached a point in his career where he rarely surprises, but manages to still satisfy with some really compelling and polished tracks. Working on this soundtrack, Fehlmann has room to roam into the airy outer reaches of his repertoire, dropping the beat completely at times to lend a more freeform, ambient touch. But then there’s the beat, that purely Fehlmann sensibility… hugely magnetic and lending an anchor to these tracks. Sometimes it’s a murmur of a pulse whereas at others it’s the driving force of the track. Everything here is familiar – flutophone overtones, cascading harp strings, ambient drones, swaggering swing grooves, pulsing bass undercurrents – and yet it’s new. It’s like someone cut up his repertoire and finest moments into a mosaic and rearranged it into this release, one that is not new sounding, yet somehow still wholly impressive.

Watch/listen: “Alles, Immer”