Music

Freddie Cruger: Soul Search

Cruger draws on funky music from around the world, and his debut album is at once smooth, eclectic, and supremely danceable.

Freddie Cruger

Soul Search

Label: Ubiquity
US Release Date: 2006-10-24
UK Release Date: Unavailable
Amazon
iTunes

Dance is almost unmatched in its ability to bring people together. In a busy club, dance can break down personal barriers and unite crowd members in a pulsing mass of life. On a broader scale, it can also transcend national limits and speak to a global community. Latin rhythms might propel European electronica, for instance, or American swing music may infiltrate an Asian club hit. Few people are as aware of the interpersonal and international quality of dance music as Freddie Cruger. When creating his debut album, Soul Search, he deliberately exploited these qualities, and the result is a smooth sonic blend that draws from some of the world's best dance music.

Freddie Cruger, a.k.a. Red Astaire, is a producer/DJ from Sweden. Over the past few years, he has released 16 tracks and remixes. In addition to being his first full-length album, Soul Search is also one of the first Freddie Cruger releases to appear on a medium other than vinyl. Cruger's music is marked by eclecticism, and his sound has earned him the approval of several notable crate diggers, including Jazzy Jeff, Bobbito, and Quantic.

Soul Search truly spans the globe in its musical scope. The opener, "Over the Ocean", the melody of which sounds remarkably like the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love", conjures the sounds of Jamaica with its reggae influence. "What'chu See Iz What'Chu Get" is a more straightforward track rooted in old-school American hip-hop. "Pretty Little Thing" is a sexy soul track featuring the seductive vocal contributions of Swedish singer Linn. And these three tracks only scratch the surface of an album that also includes elements of funk, jazz, blues, Latin music and disco.

The thirteen tracks on the album all display a high degree of songcraft. Although so-called "electronic" artists are often more driven by textures and soundscapes than traditional songs, Cruger is an exception to this trend. In fact, his songs could probably be radio hits if he could find an effective way to market himself. As it stands, he will probably have to be content writing the type of music the Black Eyed Peas might write if they could no longer rely on the "humps" of their female member and actually had to hone their musical talent.

The production style on Soul Search is understated. Though Cruger deals in a wide range of styles, he combines all the sonic elements smoothly. Consequently, Soul Search is consistently listenable, but it never demands attention. This feature is both good and bad. On a positive note, it blends easily into the background and would be a perfect soundtrack for a dance party. The negative side is that it doesn't quite satisfy as a listening experience in its own right. The album is enjoyable while it is playing, but it won't leave listeners with much to take away from their experience.

Cruger has already gained attention from a number of important listeners, and his reputation should only grow with the release of Soul Search. Although his music does not display the deep grooves or the striking creativity of someone like the aforementioned Quantic, it is nonetheless worthwhile. By working in a wide range of styles and doing so in such a tasteful, capable way, Cruger has created an album that should appeal to fans of many genres and repel no one.

6
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Reviews

PC Nackt Deconstructs the Classics with 'Plunderphonia'

PC Nackt kicks off a unique series of recordings dedicated to creating new music by "plundering" unexpected historical sources such as classical piano pieces or chamber orchestra music.

Music

Counterbalance 24: The Doors - 'The Doors'

Before you slip into unconsciousness, Counterbalance has put together a few thoughts on the Doors' 1967 debut album. It's number 24 on the Big List.

Reading Pandemics

Parable Pandemics: Octavia E. Butler and Racialized Labor

Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower, informed by a deep understanding of the intersectionality of dying ecologies, disease, and structural racism, exposes the ways capitalism's insatiable hunger for profit eclipses humanitarian responses to pandemics.

Television

'Tiger King' and the Post-Truth Culture War

Tiger King -- released during and dominating the streaming-in-lockdown era -- exemplifies in real-time the feedback loop between entertainment and ideology.

Books

Ivy Mix's 'Spirits of Latin America' Evokes the Ancestors

A common thread unites Ivy Mix's engaging Spirits of Latin America; "the chaotic intermixture between indigenous and European traditions" is still an inextricable facet of life for everyone who inhabits the "New World".

Film

Contemporary Urbanity and Blackness in 'New Jack City'

Hood films are a jarring eviction notice for traditional Civil Rights rhetoric and, possibly, leadership -- in other words, "What has the Civil Rights movement done for me lately?"

Books

'How to Handle a Crowd' Goes to the Moderators

Anika Gupta's How to Handle a Crowd casts a long-overdue spotlight on the work that goes into making online communities enjoyable and rewarding.

Music

Regis' New LP Reaffirms His Gift for Grinding Industrial Terror

Regis' music often feels so distorted, so twisted out of shape, even the most human moments feel modular. Voices become indistinguishable from machines on Hidden in This Is the Light That You Miss.

Reviews

DMA's Go for BritElectroPop on 'The Glow'

Aussie Britpoppers the DMA's enlist Stuart Price to try their hand at electropop on The Glow. It's not their best look.

Film

On Infinity in Miranda July's 'Me and You and Everyone We Know'

In a strange kind of way, Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know is about two competing notions of "forever" in relation to love.

Music

Considering the Legacy of Deerhoof with Greg Saunier

Working in different cities, recording parts as MP3s, and stitching them together, Deerhoof once again show total disregard for the very concept of genre with their latest, Future Teenage Cave Artists.

Music

Joshua Ray Walker Is 'Glad You Made It'

Texas' Joshua Ray Walker creates songs on Glad You Made It that could have been on a rural roadhouse jukebox back in the 1950s. Their quotidian concerns sound as true now as they would have back then.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.