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Album of the Week: Saschienne 'Unknown'

So Messrs Wolfgang Voigt, Jurgen Paape and Michael Mayer have done it again.

Artist: Saschienne
Album: Unknown
Label: Kompakt
Release Date: 22/03/2012

The three Kompakt honchos have a reputation for releasing cuts from quality acts that defy real definition, and this LP is no exception. There are few ways to describe it, other than by simply stating it's the work of Sascha Funke and his vocally talented wife.

But any thoughts of Amanda and hubby Julius ‘Judge Jules' O'Riordan, and their millennial-era output under the Angelic moniker, should be dispelled (sorry if that's what you were hoping for). It's probably pretty clear that a guy best known for heads down techy grooves wouldn't make commercially friendly trance though, so let's just move on to what the LP sounds like, rather than what it doesn't, which is no easy question to answer.

In the same way Stelios Vassiloudis' Bedrock album, It Is What It Is, merged a kind of soulful blues into progressive undertones, here Sachienne (Mr Funke and spouse Julienne Dessagne) meld a sexy, smoky barroom lyricism with electronica and robotic, funk infused four four moods. The result is a little like a David Lynch soundtrack realised with Casios and Korgs as oppose to soaring Americana chords, a place where electroclash femme fatale lyrics are juxtaposed with the subtlety of deep house.

Evocative stuff to say the least, fans of recent work from artists like Christian Prommer, Douglas Greed, and Slove should certainly take this release very seriously indeed, because it's really all very good indeed. The opening title track, for example, is a deliciously sombre and sparse affair that's truly mesmerising, and served with precisely the right kind of two-minutes-and-13-seconds-long, delicately whispered intro before its lugging kick finally drops.

Then offerings like Grand Cru, and its grungy, bass g-tar baritone, building organ line, expansive horns, and rather sensual vocals give things a little more bite- coming across almost more like a live blues rock band than anything else. Later, jazzier tones can be heard through the jaunty plucked strings and bouncy keyboards of Aile Mut, whereas La Somme's beautifully rendered ambience is enough to send anyone into an opiate haze. It's a futurist arrangement that counterbalances the songwriting-focused perspective at the root of this album. A pop-house-electro-experimental hybrid gone right, it's every bit as exciting as that ludicrous tag suggests.

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