I've read somewhere that Bach's Brandenburg Concerti are considered the ideal musical accompaniment for students who can't study unless there is some form of music playing as they read. (My terrible memory hints that this may have been the opinion of Peter Jay, the former British Ambassador to the United States, but the same terrible memory is so untrustworthy that I'm willing to concede, just this once, that I may be spectacularly wrong. Perhaps I shouldn't have been listening to music when I first read that anecdote.)
Tracknames I Can't Pronounce by Erdbeerschnitzel, the latest release from Alt Recordings, is a bipolar album that goes one better than old Johann Sebastian: you may use its five tracks for background music while you study for exams or paint a fence, or you could turn up the volume and reveal that your nethers are, in fact, the long-thought-mythical perpetual motion machine. How so? Well, there are no great dynamic flourishes in these tracks; they sound like well-oiled machines that get funky when no one is looking. Yes, there are myriad thumps and bumps but no great melodic or percussive swellings to scorch your eardrums. As such, they're like my trousers: understated but ready to rumble.
Normally, I would recommend the first track, Drehundangelpunk, and its use of everyday minimalist motifs such as ...elephants, chickens, horses and cows, but its successor Klaus Kroete is a pristine example of groovin' German minimal. The triangle clinches it for me, so now it gets one of mine:
Potentiopeter gets down and grooves, courtesy of a flanging snippet of white noise that provides the pitch-shifting meat in the bass and electronic drum sandwich. (Metaphors fear me.)
Miez und Muskel veers dangerously near my patented Theory of Dance Music: "all dance tracks are a third too long", but gets away with it because, like the rest of this very classy EP, it's stuffed with beautifully panned and mixed ticks, pops, clicks, scratches, snipped vocals and warm bass lines, the last being similar to oxygen in that you notice them only when there's no more.
The Tone Def remix of Drehundangelpunk is the most kick-heavy of the five tracks. Worry not: its sparseness is interrupted by an insistent bass line and leavened by the occasional angry elephant. (I'm not making this up.)
In Tracknames I can't Pronounce, Tim Keiling of Mainz (for it is he) has manipulated micro-samples with Teutonic aplomb and no little ingenuity to produce a superb free album of joyful funky minimal that will occupy your ears while your fingers leave a fervent "thank you" on his MySpace and Facebook pages. You can use your toes to leave offers of money and no-strings sex in CTW's comments section. I'm waiting.
Tracknames I Can't Pronounce – Erdbeerschnitzel (link to individual mp3s & zipped album)