Michael Fakesch: Dos

[16 August 2007]

By Joe Tacopino

Mixing the pop accessibility of Justin Timberlake with the uncanny electro-vicissitudes of Mathew Herbert is Dos, the first proper solo effort from Michael Fakesch. Fakesch was one half of the now defunct IDM pioneers Funkstörung. Funkstörung received much praise in Germany for melding hip-hop and pop with lo-fi electronica. The group made its name in the States, mostly, by providing re-mixes for Björk and the Wu-Tang Clan.

Since Funkstörung’s demise, Fakesch has teamed up with vocalist Taprikk Sweezee to create a stellar album of 21st century soul. Much like with Jamie Lidell’s Multiply, Sweezee’s easy-to-swallow falsetto coats these selections with a danceable vibe. Meanwhile, Fakesch keeps things interesting by tweaking around with a whole slew of blips, crunches and digital gurgles.

From the bubbly bass of “Soda” to the beatbox funk of “Give It to Me”, Dos flows with a seemingly effortless flair. Selections such as “Complicated” display funk tendencies, which lean slightly away from Fakesch’s IDM pedigree (as displayed with Funkstörung). Dos, at times, has more in common with !!! (Chk Chk Chk) than with Aphex Twin. “Escalate” has the hip-hop flavor and prominent chorus of a radio-friendly pop song and the infectious hook of “Complicated” reeks of Jamie Lidell’s white-boy soul music—and it’s so damn good. Some of this soul searching may be due to Sweezee’s contribution. Sweezee, who appeared on a remix of Mathew Herbert’s “Something Isn’t Right”, co-wrote most of the selections on Dos, but prefers to play the role of “guest”. Although the effort plays more like a one-two combo, Sweezee was reportedly uncomfortable being billed as a duo.

Fakesch doesn’t let his artistic license go to waste as Dos displays his penchant for seamlessly melding genres into a digitally cogent and complete sound. Nestled in between the upbeat buoyancy of “Soda” and the danceable soul track “Complicated” is “Blackbird”, a muddled display of disjointed glitches and digital grumblings. The song gives contrast and pause to Sweezee’s gentle moans. Furthering his cred as a digital maestro is “Crest”, a brief interlude into NES-emulated space sounds. Then there’s the aforementioned “Give It to Me”, which features a wah-wah pedal, beatboxing and, dare I say, even some turntablism (don’t tell Matt Herbert).

Even the tail end of this effort contains a few soul-inflicted gems. “Wire” features Sweezee’s high-pitched croon, while “On the Floor” gets down and grimy as the eclectic vocalist let’s out a James Brown-like “Yeeeehoww!”. Sweezee’s range is impressive and the fact that he can keep up with Fakesch’s vacillations are evidence that this team may be working together for some time to come. The swaying funk beat and layered vocals on “Channel” quickly shifts to a jazzy outro, rounding off the effort nicely with a dose of trombone.

Based out of Germany, the !K7 label hoped they could usher in a new era of dance music in States when they released album’s like Mathew Herbert Scale, which emphasized traditional orchestration over sampling. Herbert’s unhealthy devotion to dance music did not exactly translate into album sales among the singles-friendly, synthetic American club scene. While Dos may be a more palatable selection from the label, it’s significance is equally suggestive of what may very well become the future of dance music.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/michael-fakesch-dos/