KK 055CD KK 055CD

Roman's third album can only be described as pop: rhythmic, melodic, intelligent and straight from the heart. That's not to say that the Cologne-based singer-songwriter, producer and filmmaker has lost any of his desire to experiment. Indeed, there has always been an avant-garde element in pop music, in transforming and condensing something intimate into a 3-minute nugget, both accessible and popular. It's this contrast that makes Roman's music seductive: his songs tell intimate stories and the multi-faceted compositions make this personal element audible. As always, he wrote and composed the whole thing himself, but was joined at the production stage this time round by Henning Schmitz and Bertil Mark. The former has already written musical history as a member of the band Kraftwerk. The latter is a drummer and producer for artists such as Von Spar, The Notwist and Die Fantastischen Vier. The recording process has also become more extravagant, Roman turning his back on bedroom production in favor of a full band set-up. It's precisely the dynamic spirit and playfulness of the band that injects his new album with an organic energy. The screaming, howling and whispering, the poetic anecdotes about everyday city life and night time walks along the harbor, fleeting neon moments in the darkness and euphoric club scenarios don't just fuel the lyrics but drive on the songs themselves. This is reflected, for example, in the song "R.I.P. Music," a real rave anthem. Roman doesn't disguise his voice throughout. He turns away from technique in favor of pure verbal expression and makes innocent dilettantism into a discipline. Musically, he wanders freely through various genres with eyes wide open: smooth ballads, banging beats, relaxing folk, D.I.Y. techno and clap-along hip-hop. It's a stylistic carousel that never stands still, constantly translating the keys of Roman's heart into rhythms, harmonies and melodies. The sound is more lavish than before, with synthesizers, laptop, a string quartet and guitar, only occasionally reverting to a reduced lo-fi structure. All the recordings have been put back through a sequencer, edited and added to on a laptop, giving the whole thing extra rawness. It's a working method that unites Roman's nerdy bedroom-production past with band collaboration and catapults this homemade aesthetic into a new, punchier context. Includes a bonus video for the track "Agog Grammer."