Coma – In Technicolor
Label: KompaktScore: 9/10
Following a few 12” releases with Kompakt, COMA have now recorded a full album. After catching Georg Conrad and Marius Bubat play a couple of tracks from the album on Tim Sweeney’s Beats in Space radio show I was pretty excited to see this one appear in my inbox.
I was not disappointed. COMA’s brand of well-constructed melodic, sometimes disco inflected, techno really comes alive on “In Technicolor”. All reviewer cliches re consistency and following a thread while providing a good variety of styles from track to track apply. The boys from Cologne supply straight up 4/4 workouts alongside groovy quasi pop tunes and whatever you want to call what they’ve done in between.
“Hoooooray” kicks off with an overstated playful call and response sort of thing pulling main focus. Beneath it though there is great detail in the production. The vocal motif “Feelin alright” pretty much reflects the generated mood but in a glass half full kind of way.
A peak in grooviness is brought early in “Maybach” with a macho bass guitar riffing from start to finish. This is followed by the most floor ready: “Cycle” driven atmospheric techno stretched over six minutes with handclaps aplenty.
The pair’s first full forays into songwriting are portrayed in “Les Dilettantes”, which has proper verses and choruses laid out in a relaxed manner over almost bubblegummy accompaniment, & “Missing Piece”, which sounds quite a bit like Caribou’s acclaimed “Swim” output. “My Orbit” & “The Great Escape” more interestingly hold back from using the vocals in a songlike manner but still have more of a narrative than the plain samples that punctuate most productions.
“The Great Escape” is particularly good: winding up through a selection of effects, joined halfway through by a Supermanesque vocal, it feels like it build constantly without ever reaching a definite climax.
In “maximal MINIMAL” hard edged overdriven synths fade in and out, jostling for attention with more cloudlike syncopated piano sounds, to hypnotic effect. Closing out the album is the ambient short of “Scales”, which combines a woody sounding clarinet sample treated with huge reverb with intimate crackling voices, followed by “T.E.D.” which builds from pretty, beatless ambience before bringing in percussion leading to a wistful close.
The aural pallette that these two work with is very impressive with concrete sounds being expertly blended with the acoustic. There’s a lot thrown in on most tracks, both at the same time and between structural shifts but it all remains seamless and maintains a level of neatness that it is hard not to be impressed by.
This is a really fine album, sonically and compositionally it’s pretty fresh and interesting and as previously stated, the production is impeccable.