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coverpic flag Germany - Full Moon 234 - 09/28/15

Various Artists
Dis Cover - Donna Regina As Recorded By...
Karaoke Kalk

Donna Regina's album from last year, Holding The Mirror For Sophia Loren sailed up to become one of my favourite records of 2014. This new record, Dis Cover.... sees Regina and Günther Janssen's (AKA Donna Regina) songs reworked by others, such as Dean And Britta (AKA Dean Wareham of Galaxie 500 and Luna, plus his partner Britta Phillips, who's also an ex-Luna member), label-mates The National Jazz Trio Of Scotland, Bertrand Burgalat, Mouse On Mars, Console (AKA Martin Gretschmann of Notwist), Thomas Fehlmann (of The Orb and Sun Electric), Gudrun Gut and several others. Electro a-go-go!

Donna Regina has been an on-going music project since 1990, and they have put out some 12 albums over the years. Dis Cover - Donna Regina As Recorded By... is sort a 25-year celebration of Regina and Günther's musical escapades. Dis Cover... holds three songs, or versions of songs taken from last year's album ("Lift Me Up" by Console; "Les claviers de couleurs" by Astrobal and Tom Terrien feat. Nina Savary; and the title-track by Thomas Fehlmann Feat. Gudrun Gut), but Dean & Britta open the album with the nice and comfortable "Driving In Your Car", originally from Donna Regina's 1995 album, Her Beautiful Heart (on Strange Ways Records). As always, Dean & Britta sound way cool. Dean Wareham has always been the sound of cool and chillfully relaxed. However, this car drive does not lead to anywhere, it seems. It is just a long drive. The National Jazz Trio Of Scotland's take on "End Of September" is very fine. The song is picked from the album Slow Killer (2005, Karaoke Kalk), which I have not heard. However, TNJTOS does excellent, atmospheric stuff. What makes this song so 'authentic' and real is that we are at the end of September as we speak, or listen to this song. Neat. The 120 bpm of schlammpeitziger's "Make My Nana" (off Planet Me, 1998, Strange Ways Records) pass by, before Chica and The Folder (Chica Paula Schopf & Max Loderbauer) takes on the mood started by TNJTOS with "How Beautiful" (off Slow Killer), except the Germans are an electronic duo (compared to the Scots' more organic sound). Leichtmetall (Marion Dimbath and Nicola Schüpferling) does a charming, monochrome, German version of "Coloured Like Ashes" (originally from Lazing Away, Our Choice 1992). This is a dream-like song (think Lali Puna style), from some blurred landscapes early in the morning.

Il Tempo Gigante is a Copenhagen based singer-songwriter artist named Rolf Hansen, who does an indeed fine "Blue (Happy Without You)" (from Northern Classic, 2002, Karaoke Kalk). Somewhere up Jose Gonzalez' alley, while Console's (a.k.a. Notwist's chief programmer/knotter Martin Gretschmann) "Lift Me Up" (from Holding The Mirror...) is of the a more abstract, minimalist plin-plon electronic genre. Which is quite cool, when portioned. The beautiful French lesson, "Les claviers de couleurs" (the third track from Holding The Mirror...) is a collaboration delivered by Astrobal (a.k.a. Emmanuel Mario), Tom Terrien feat. Nina Savary. This is an excellent contribution which works fine shoulder to should with next track, "Northern Classic" (the title track from Donna Regina's 2002 album) by American singer Dani Siciliano (who's been working with Matthew Herbert). French musician, composer, producer Bertrand Burgalat (you should check his 20000 album Sssound of Mmmusic) has come up with a laidback and charming version of "Star Ferry" (picked from A Quiet Week in the House, 1999, Karaoke Kalk). Burgalat sings slightly off-key/out-of-tune (on purpose, I guess) but this works incredibly well.

Mouse on Mars' twisted and bent, surrealist electro-pop version of "Late" (being the title track from DR's 2003 album, on Karaoke Kalk) is maybe a bit annoying, but it's also somewhat fascinating. "Let's Get Slow" is another track off Northern Classic, but here it is done in Polish as "Wolniej bądź", by Polish (?) artist Miłka (whom I don't know). Dis Cover... closes with "Holding The Mirror For Sophia Loren" by Thomas Fehlmann feat. Gudrun Gut, which is decent enough but makes me think: After listening through this cover (Dis cover...) album, I think I prefer the originals by Donna Regina. Like I (almost) do when checking out cover versions. That said, this might be for Regina and Günther Janssen to decide/to judge. Like Christoph Biermann says in his liner notes/press sheet notes:
'Over these 25 years Donna Regina's music has traveled all around the world: to Poland and Portugal, Argentina, Brazil and even Japan. Now they are getting something back, for in the end cover versions are really for those who wrote the original. The tributes here come from very old as well as very new friends, from companions over many years and partners in spirit. And what they have found in Donna Regina's music and what they have done with it, that is a gift for every listener to this wonderful compilation.'

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