Lars Dietrich: Stand Alone (2011)
Dietrich is the alto saxophonist with The Story; a young, well-received quintet based in New York that also features Texan tenorist Samir Zarif and British pianist John Escreet. Outside of that musically tight, inventive, but acoustic band, Dietrich launches himself full-tilt into a world of electronica, mixing techno, dance, jazz and occasional rock and classical influences. The music triggers memories of Tangerine Dream, Tonto's Expanding Head Band, Kraftwerk and others, as Dietrich creates a musical mélange that never fails to intrigue, intermittently frustrates, and sometimes sounds like music for dancing.
The frustration comes from the occasional over-working of limited ideas, on "Champloo" for example, but most of the time Dietrich is more imaginative, with "Monokleam," the slow-tempo and reflective title track, and "Exitship"a sort of Celtic/trance crossoverat the melodic end of the spectrum. Things get a tad wackier with the polyrhythms of "Lars vs Sral," the oddly plaintive "Byeworld" and the relaxed yet mysterious "Metalage," while the slow and sinewy groove of "Clustarrr" offers an ideal opportunity for some dance floor action.
Dietrich plays everything on Stand Alonealthough it's not clear what everything is, and neither the album sleeve nor the press release give too much away. There's plenty of electronics and keyboards, the occasional saxophone, vocal samples and more. The warm static crackle of vinyl underpins some of the tunes. It's a comforting sound that balances out some of the more discomforting ones, and acts as a reminder of the pioneers of electronica who form the foundation for Stand Alone.
Track Listing: Lost; Monokleam; Redshift; Acebirt; Exitship; Stand Alone; Madretsma; Lars v. Sral; Champloo; Metalace; Clustarrr; Pragma; Headvoice; Byeworld.
Personnel: Lars Dietrich: all instruments.
Record Label: Self Produced