Published Aug 29, 2014Like so many of his German brethren, Roman Flügel is obsessed with crafting authentic, classic-sounding techno. But as most artists on the Kompakt and Morr Music record labels replicate Detroit and Chicago's texture and aesthetic, Flügel seems interested in the genre's often-overlooked use of melody. On Happiness is Happening, the second full-length under his own name, the Frankfurt producer has laid out ten tight and focused techno tracks that come off more like a score to a brainy video game than a soundtrack to a wild night out in Ibiza.
As Fatty Folders, his overlooked 2011 LP, delved deep into experimental electronic's use of collapsing spaces, many of the tracks on his sophomore release, including the 8-bit "Friendship Song," the stuttering "Your War is Over" and the somehow-funky "Tense Times" all rely on an undying, evolving melody to give the album its distinct character. With Happiness is Happening, Flügel has created his most fluid and rewarding piece of work to date. (Dial)