Walzer Oder Nicht
Walzer Oder Nicht
Forget about lyrics to convey feelings or moods: It’s all in the music, in the melodies, its harmonies. After all, these tracks don’t need words to say a whole lot. The same is true of their genesis: Bernhard Fleischmann and Herbert Weixelbaum hardly discussed any ideas or musical concepts while in the studio. Instead, these tracks simply emerged while they were playing together; the melodies grew out of a wordless conversation, an exchange of sounds and notes. This newfound collaborative spirit lies at the heart of “Walzer Oder Nicht”: the various tracks and layers intertwine and complement each other on a whole new level. That’s how a song like “No Mail” came about, a track whose inner logic and intricate composition manage to captivate the listener entirely.
Yet, it’s not just the interlocking density that’s new, as Duo 505 present a whole new set of arrangements: above all, Fleischmann and Weixelbaum added guitars to the mix, which in turn means that the Roland MC-505 is no longer the predominant element of their sound. Case in point: On the opening track “Facing It 2010,” a rerecording of a song they wrote for their debut full-length “Late,” (2004) they hardly use electronic elements at all. This, however, doesn’t affect the fundamental nature of Duo 505’s music: “Walzer Oder Nicht” ultimately shows that their tracks work both as acoustic and electronic versions.
Duo 505’s new recordings are somewhat reminiscent of Velvet Underground (at their catchiest), of Yo La Tengo’s sense of melody, or the kind of ballads Brian Eno or Zach Condon are known for. Make no mistake: Even though “Walzer Oder Nicht” certainly has its noisier moments, some Tall Dwarfs-style clank and clatter even, the new album is even more thoughtful, quiet and warm-hearted than its predecessors.
“Walzer Oder Nicht” is an album that sounds very much complete and very dense and full of hidden layers; an album that evokes childlike enthusiasm with its magnificent melodies. Fleischmann and Weixelbaum are currently looking for a way to present this new sound on stage.
The only remaining question: “Walzer Oder Nicht”? Waltz or no waltz? Ease, swing, and elegance are clearly there, so yes, there’s an element of Waltz in these tracks; but there’s no sense of bittersweet bliss, no 3/4-beats. In other words: These guys are obviously from Vienna; but would you find them dancing at the Vienna Opera Ball? Not really.