Philipp Quehenberger Phantom in Paradise

Forgive the cliché, but Austrian Philipp Quehenberger’s Phantom in Paradise,/i> is pretty mysterious. Being finally released alongside wicked names and innovators like Fennesz and Tujiko Noriko, there’s a lot to expect. His brand of IDM can be pretty flaky, sounding like various permutations of techno and industrial, but it gets you hooked. Opener "Wives with Knives” could be a Downward Spiral instrumental and the mantra on "Loner Goner” is as annoying as it is unintelligible one minute and completely infectious the next. There are curveball breakdowns that save tracks, like when "Varad” goes acid techno instead of amateur, driving even further out to leftfield for some psy-trance synth melodies, but there are flops as well. "Far Away Places” is kind of asinine, followed by "Ozerea.” Thus is the mystery of Mr. Quehenberger: when you think he’s about to really show you paradise on record his skills perform a disappearing act. It’s often as if he realises he’s got to save certain songs at points and either fails or succeeds in dramatic fashion. Luckily, the album conforms to the latter. (eMego)