dZihan & Kamien Freaks & Icons

“Kruder & Dorfmeister-like” has become a weighty descriptive where chilled electronic music is concerned. Also based in Vienna, Yugoslavian dZihan and Italian-German Kamien are bound to have the comparisons heaped on them, but their similarly lush and breezy creations shine with a vibe that is all their own. Freaks & Icons is a real feel-good album — in a mellow, moody kind of way. The duo, though not at all polished around the edges, have mastered the art of merging organic instruments with sampled and electronic sources and have a particular penchant for Eastern sounds. "Streets of Istanbul" and its more up-tempo cousin, "Just You and I," hook the listener with thick beats, Arabic strings and lovely keys. "After" and "Where Are We" ride the groove train with funky bass and ripping organ leading the way. The image of a slow walk, hands shoved in pockets, is invoked by the strains of the sad yet gorgeous "Slowhand Hussein." Similarly, "Ocean Air" reminds of a thoughtful stroll in the sunset and fresh air. "Homebase" perfects the melodic melancholy sprinkled throughout, with piano, tabla and chilled beats swelling to welcome strings and harpsichord, this embodies lament and love. Lest it all sound too sad, "Smile" works another angle, featuring catchy, scat-influenced vocals that remind of Björk as they glide over distorted keys and beats to sing "every day is a sunny day." (Couch)