Review: Sankt Otten – Morgen Wieder Lustig

So often great albums pass by unappreciated when they are first released. The result of an initial lack of promotion and underground word of mouth often means that a lucky few at least get praised in hindsight. That was the case with Sankt Otten’s 2000 record ‘Eine Kleine Traurigkeit’, a reissued record which for me provided a very edifying exposure into the German trip-hop scene that I would have otherwise never heard. Nine years on, the duo of Oliver Klemm and Stephan Otten still record and ‘Morgen Wieder Lustig’ is their latest offering.

Like their debut, the new album is a bit of a slow burner and is largely built on atmosphere rather than melody. Surprisingly the mood is dreamy and ambient for opener ‘Ein Himmel Voller Galgen’ and things only start to enter a downward curve for ‘Lustig, Lustig, Demain Encore Lustig’ which adds insistent bleeps to a noirish synth wash. To be honest, this is the area where Sankt Otten really excel and they wisely stick to the dark material for the remainder of the record.

‘Fromme Lügen’ and ‘Mein Freund Aus Köln’ experiment with jazz but are careful to add warm textures to make them compelling. Though it may seem obvious to point out they emulate their Teutonic forefathers, ‘X für U’ and ‘Wenn Die Rechnung Nicht Aufgeht’ even capture the emotional longing and simple but genius tune making of Kraftwerk; the latter track being particularly gorgeous.

Overall, ‘Morgen Wieder Lustig’ falls short of the consistently evocative material from ‘Eine Kleine Traurigkeit’ but even an album that is three quarters as good as their debut is worth anyone’s time. It’s a welcome shot in the arm for German electronic music, which I haven’t heard too much of in recent years.

Web Sites:
Sankt Otten MySpace
Hidden Shoal Recordings Label and Shop Site

Further Listening:
Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Bohren Und Der Club Of Gore

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