Friday, April 22, 2011

Roman Flugel

AKA / Roman IV, Eight Miles High, Soylent Green, Ro 70, Melanin, List, Acid Test, Tracks On Delivery

It all started with one of these Chicago Trax compilations on
DM/STREETSOUNDS. As a reaction to his thirsting for more of these crazed
beats from overseas and with a view to his tight budget, the greatest hits of
these expensive imported 12” singles were soon released in the form of a

This opened Pandora’s box, for very young Roman Flügel, too. Innocently
given to him by his elder brother as a present (“He probably had no idea what
he was about to unleash and just wanted to give me some new music”), the
dazzle of the unrefined and feverish dance music, furnished with just a few
drum machines and inexpensive synthesizers, turned the whole world upside
down for the cultivated music pupil from Darmstadt. After several evenings at
Sven Väth’s renowned Omen club, few kilometres further up north, and his
mind was made up. Memories of the atmosphere at the legendary Warp or
Underground Resistance label nights has put a smile on Flügel’s delicate face
ever since – a man who would also make a fine figure as a literature lecturer,
poet or thinker. “LFO’s bass, once they had set up their massive range of
equipment, was unbelievable,” he says laughing.

It didn’t take long before the well-trained ear tried out more than just classical
melodies. Little by little, he collected a vast array of equipment, bringing forth
his first sound experiments and enough courage to give a demo tape to indie
fan (that’s what music magazines like Zillo used to call people like that back
then) Jörn Elling Wuttke. The latter was a well-known face in Darmstadt’s
music scene and often enthused about new electronic music. In him he had
found the right partner and Wuttke could hardly believe his spellbound ears.

DJs und Delirium record sellers Ata and Heiko MSO from Frankfurt felt the
same. At first they thought someone was making fun of them. It sounded too
authentic and unique. The music Flügel and Wuttke had presented to their
label Ongaku and Klang Elektronik as Acid Jesus or, rather, Alter Ego,
couldn’t possibly come from the little neighbouring town Darmstadt. In
Frankfurt, that kind of sound made people think of Detroit. The rest is history
and forged an almost holy alliance. Speaking of holy: a humid summer’s day, a
crate of beer and a studio in a garage sufficed to found a new label by the
name of Playhouse for Holy Garage and to create that certain “surprise” which
still excites house clubs today. Comrades-in-arms such as Isolée, Don Disco
alias Losoul and Ricardo Villalobos made the label the number one address.
So they went on, history was written and the nineties flew by in a jiffy. His
degree course in music was in the way: “It seemed obsolete somehow, just to
be analyzing church sonatas all day when there were so many interesting
things going on around me. When, on top of that, the only semester on modern
music was cancelled that year, I decided to leave the university.” Luckily for
us all, actually. The electronic intellectual’s productivity is virtually
unparalleled and Roman Flügel, the producer, DJ and label co-owner of
Ongaku/Klang/Playhouse has meanwhile become a gentle giant in the German
electro scene. With his own personal style and the privilege of being
independent from the usual constraints of the music industry. A free spirit
instead of a sheep. His solo project as Soylent Green (see the latest “La Forca
Del Destino” compendium) is just as much of a must as his Alter Ego project
with Wuttke, rigorously affirming techno down to the very last detail. He and
Wuttke also count as techno Teuton Sven Väth’s favourite producers, who
booked the team to produce a series of his own music. Roman’s work as Eight
Miles High and Ro 70 show his quieter side, while the remixes (e.g. for Daft
Punk, The Human League, Primal Scream, Pet Shop Boys, Kylie Minogue)
and tracks under his own name (just think of the Arcade rave of “Geht’s
Noch”) are light dancefloor affirmations.

Roman also champions the cause of this in his job as an entertainer. Tried and
tested by the stadium and pop hit “Rocker”, Flügel and Wuttke can be proud
of being able to set any auditorium in the world on fire with their live set. DJ
Roman Flügel can say the same of himself. Be it his sets at Offenbach’s
Robert-Johnson, Amnesia on Ibiza or Berlin’s Tollhaus Berghain/Panorama
Bar: instead of disappearing in trivial and meaningless elevator clicks, he
prefers to make his way through 20 years of “rave”. Contemporary music that
includes bleeping house or quirky techno meets futuristic Italo-disco and
electronica devoid of all provenance. There was a time when you’d call that
kind of sound acid house, released cheaper by the dozen on compilations. It
all turns full circle again.

Desperate Housemen by Roman Flügel is out now / Live At Robert Johnson
Ramona loves Roman. Roman loves Ramona. The two just can't help it. Naturally, the Desperate Housemen EP is his second 12-Inch effort for Live At Robert Johnson and a showcase of his versatility. Like a crosspollination of his efforts as Solyent Green, Roman IV or under his original name, you get four distillates of house music, cold wave and Frankfurt-style electro-funk. Distinctive, sparkling, 4x4 and paying attention to detail, this is like an update of the unpredictability that once made a Nu Groove record so exciting, fresh and not desperate at all. Truly romantic!" Get at KOMPAKT shop