KLAUS JOHANN GROBE
REPTALIENS and SMOOTA
KLAUS JOHANN GROBE
Swiss group Klaus Johann Grobe have been at it since 2012, and the group continues to defy description & blur the lines between electronic pop, dance music, synthesis & kosmische. Their third album, Du Bist So Symmetrisch (2018). follows the inevitable path laid out by their previous album (the Basel Prize-winning Spagat der Liebe), incorporating the slinky, jazz-fusion-laced grooves populating late night clubs and braiding them together with the band’s own blend of mutant electro-funk. Driven by an organic, metronomic beat aligned with synth, chant-like vocals, and a monstrous funky bass, the music aims towards a certain kind of hypnosis, particularly as the sleeping pill echo-heavy vocals cycle over the locked grooves the pair throw down.
Du Bist So Symmetrisch begins with the cascading arpeggio of a synth, edging into view, before lurching into the placid dancefloor groove of the first single “Discogedanken”. While the band invariably feels more at home in the club, Klaus Johann Grobe certainly aim towards the more dance-orientated arena of German music (see “Der König” or “Von Gestern”), aligning the metro pulse of Klaus Dinger and Kraftwerk’s later techno work to more biological factors – like moss growing on the mainframe.
The band has toured extensively since 2014, highlights being supporting tours with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Growlers and Temples, and they have toured and played festivals in the U.S.A., U.K., Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, France and Spain. Du Bist So Symmetrisch was released worldwide by Trouble in Mind Records on October 26, 2018.
When Bambi and Cole Browning started writing the songs that would be become Reptaliens’ 2017 debut LP, FM-2030, they had no intention of starting a band. Focusing at first on creating music and art on a purely personal level, the project soon took off when the duo brought on Julian Kowalski (guitar) and Tyler Verigin (drums) to form a live band.
The four-piece swiftly delved into songwriting inspired by sci-fi art and literature, cult mentalities, and deep connections. The result was the band’s self-defined genre of “dreamwave,” which connected musical influences ranging from Gary Wilson-inspired jazzy lounge music, the warmth of Broadcast’s recording production, to Todd Rundgren’s outer space synth sounds.
After touring throughout most of 2017 and 2018 with STRFKR, Cults, and Of Montreal, the band returned home and went straight into renowned Portland studio Jackpot to record their sophomore LP, VALIS. Titled after the 1981 Philip K. Dick novel, VALIS is a cohesive collection of songs unified in sound and structure and supported by recurring lyrical themes.
Reptaliens wanted to recreate the warmth of something personal and familiar, while also providing the listener with the room to create a unique and personal relationship with the music. This duality can be found in the constructs, themes, and imagery portrayed through vocalist and bassist Bambi’s lyrical concepts. Juxtaposed against the backdrop of friendly and lighthearted pop hooks and melodies, Bambi engages her audience through motifs of loneliness, longing, abduction, isolation, and change as well as love and personal connection.
Smoota’s new album PHEROMONES is an arousing soak in the hot tub of your sexual imagination. Inspired by the warm and sensual sounds of ’70s soul, Smoota’s follow-up to his 2013 debut FETISHES is a risqué exploration of the modern sexual landscape. A New York City musician who has played for years with TV On The Radio, Smoota has also recorded and/or performed with Run The Jewels, Sufjan Stevens, Steven Tyler, Aaron Neville, Pretty Lights, Griz and many others.
Smoota played all the music on Pheromones himself, adding only backup vocals, strings, and a (fake?) orgasm from a friend in Australia. With a unique mix of honesty, curiosity, and sly humor, the album puts both a dip in your hip and a smile on your face. Touching on the polyamorous urge, happy S&M relationships, taboo lust, erotic intimacy, and more, Pheromones will turn out the lights, liberate your mind, arouse your body, and then make you breakfast in the morning.