Saturday, 11 October 2014

REVIEW: Headman/Robi Insinna - '6' (Relish Recordings)

Swiss DJ and producer Robi Insinna has been remixing the likes of Doves, Franz Ferdinand and many others under his Headman alias for over a decade now, yet there are aren't many who will be aware of his own music, let alone the fact that he is now on his fifth album. Despite being his fifth, it's entitled '6' and is released via his own Relish Recordings label. It's an eclectic and highly collaborative work that was created largely using analogue electronics and even a bit of good old fashioned tape delay.

With the addictive 'Work', we get the sound of Kraftwerk and John Foxx influences, in amongst ominous keys, unsettling atmospheres, and delicious analogue electronic rhythms, all topped with nagging vocodered vocal hooks. The stomping Kraut disco funk 'Der' pairs acidy grooves with spacey synths, providing a major highlight that comes across like early Daft Punk with a more Teutonic outlook. Sam Lymham from the group Gramme provides guest vocals on the dirty, New York-flavoured strut 'Sleep Red!', while dark, pulsing 80s synth pop characterises the slightly overlong 'Something'. 

After the seductive post-punk funk that shimmers through the smart, slinky 'Dona', more splendid analogue electronics rise from 'Barbarism''s ominous hums of bass, acid house vibes and Kosmische guitars, creating a shadowy yet oddly euphoric piece that stands as another one of '6''s best tracks. The Bozwell-featuring 'Take Me To The Top' is not unlike LCD Soundsystem doing 'Wrote For Luck', while the hypnotic 'Swing Now Out' features far-out vocals and a superb drum sound. Eerie atmospherics and urgent, snapping drum machines provide a fine mixture of retro and futuristic flavours on the high point 'Number 9', before slowed, robotic echoes of The Orb's 'Toxgene' creep into the ambient techno of 'The Night', a closer ruined by over-reliance on a rather grating hook.

Overall it's eclectic and multi faceted, while retaining a sense of identity with the use of analogue electronic sounds, and the collaborators all seem to bring their own shades of colour to the record. One or two overlong and under-par moments, but mostly '6' is an entertaining and irresistibly movement-inducing set of tunes. 7/10

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