Los Lagos


Los Lagos is Thomas Fehlmann's seventh solo full-length, and his fourth for Kompakt following his Berlin-inspired 2010 album Gute Luft (KOMP 081CD/211LP). In the musician's own words, it's about "checking the juice". Establishing a picture of his current artistic condition, as suggested by the title -- (Los Lagos literally translates to "the lakes" but takes the meaning of "wassup" in the context of a relaxed discussion between friends), the album refers to Fehlmann's motivations of late. It is, he says, a way to "allow myself to techno, as a means to deconstruction and rebuilding. Set up an area of tension, then lose it in the flow of the grooves, magnifying some details out of proportion, regrouping around those and slowly knitting a texture." This the decision Thomas Fehlmann has made. At 61, he is a longstanding member of The Orb, a multi-talented composer and a boundless experimentalist. In the twilight of his collaboration with Alex Paterson, he was eager to taste the flavors of the unknown again. As goes with that essential love of his for the free-flowing nature of electronic music, this is a fascination born out of its "lack of borders", capable of "inventing, changing the emphasis, and experimenting with an unpredictable outcome"; Los Lagos "freely connects disparate extremes. Art, disco, minimalism, schmalz, jazz and funk; as he likes to say, Fehlmann's head functions as a sampler, capturing elements and re-assembling them under his own embracing perspective. He is not afraid to leap from a deep, dubbed-out hypnotism to the playfulness of '90s-style bleepy schaffel, such as on "Tempelhof", which features a guest spot from Max Loderbauer. There are also out-there, muscle-flexing dancefloor cuts and the calmness of the ambient. In need of keeping his inner balance in check, Fehlmann committed himself to following his intuition, which isn't so much of an easy process as he also wanted to incorporate the disturbances which he has experienced. "It's a complex process of search and destroy to bring out a new beauty to expand my vocabulary". Fehlmann looked at finding "the structure that's surprising, disturbing, and rewarding". The artwork for the record, courtesy of Albert Oehlen echoes the producer's "funky use of shape and space" like a second skin. To wit, Los Lagos is a search for light and harmony that Fehlmann sums up simply as the answer to the question, "Does your inner musical voice respond?"