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coverpic flag Germany - Full Moon 106 - 05/23/05

Ellen Allien
Thrills
Bpitch Control

Oh, the vital genre of "electronica". Look at this modern artist that is so beautiful, right there on the cover of the record. She's not just an artist though. More importantly, this German is a woman of dance, a Bundesrepublik muse that is known to entice ass-movement. Here she is with her 3rd LP.

Thrills [Side A]
"Come" opens with a saw-wave bass and a strait-forward four to the floor, making its intentions quite clear. A minimal and rhythmically echoed melody/rhythm enters to pick the song up a bit. A satin guitar enters, and the song picks up more. Ellen Allien's pace is elegantly controlled here. You really get to dancing when the bigger beat finally drops at the 2:25 mark. It's all hypnosis here. Her programming grabbing you. "The Brain is Lost" jumps out with a Big 2-step. Sounds best if you turn it up! Get drunk and make a dance mix. There's some under-water singing in this song. Very drugged sounding. More hypnosis takes effect. Careful not to start grinding on a sofa if you're dancing alone: be warned, it's sexy music. "Your Body Is My Body" is 3rd. This song is really amazing, taking the album up a notch. A heady saw-wave rhythm drones legato above a sex bass. But a melting melody enters that is unexpected. Wow, what an incredible song.

"Naked Rain" changes the pace a bit. More beautiful and simple synth melodies greet you in this song. Ellen Allien uses traditional harmony and melody much more than many of her electronic peers; I think her music is better off for it. "Naked Rain" catches you right where you are, following "Your Body Is My Body" perfectly. She's good at this hypnosis thing. Interestingly titled "Washing Machine Is Speaking " is next. The saw-bass gets grimy in this one, and the drumming is at some of its best, I think.

Thrills [Side B]
"Down" begins the middle. A minimal dance sound with lots of 16th-note synth staccatos that propel the beat. "Don't break me down. Hideout, Hideout" goes the chorus. Ellen Allien's sparse use of vocals continuing to affect. "Ghost Train" is a really, really cool song. The melodic bassline and 2-step combine with the beat-less bridges to make this probably the best tune on the record. It's succinct too, at 3:06. She uses a Richard D. James-type sound in the awesomely named "Cloudy City". The latter part of the album getting down into more IDM-ish qualities. Listen for the really pretty part to come in at 3:30. This entrance changes the plot of the song in an elegantly unpredictable way, something Ellen Allien is proving good at on this record. "She Is with Me" is penultimate. Using plenty of lazer-gun sounds to prepare the listener for the record's death. The final song is Magma, and doesn't allow this record to flinch in greatness, all the way down to the end.

Copyright © 2005 Bill Banks e-mail address

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