Music

WhoMadeWho: Body Language, Vol. 17

The Danish indie trio jump into Get Physical's DJ mix series and come out with a pretty nice comedown soundtrack.


WhoMadeWho

Body Language, Vol. 17

Label: Get Physical
Release Date: 2016-04-01
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The Danish trio WhoMadeWho are indie rock survivors. Since releasing their 2005 debut they have continually refined and redefined their sound. Part of that process has involved the incorporation of more electronic elements. They are far from the first indie band to take this approach, but it has worked particularly well for them, and they have produced remixes for Tahiti 80, Hot Chip, and others. Their first official DJ mix, then, seems like a natural progression.

Body Language is the signature mix series produced by the Berlin electronic label Get Physical. For their entry, WhoMadeWho present a mellow, introspective, and thoughtful sound, which is not at all at odds with their own work. There is some electronic-leaning indie pop as well as some outright Electronic Dance Music, but don’t expect floor-stompers here. Yes, you could dance to Body Language, Vol. 17, but you would be more likely to chill to it.

And, as a chillout mix, this 17-track set works pretty well. One impressive feature of WhoMadeWho’s curating is the consistency of tone. A lot artist-produced DJ mixes strive to showcase their creators’ varies tastes and large palate. The result is often a nice set of songs that does not even try to hold together, despite the continuous mixing. Most everything on Body Language, Vol. 17, though, fits nicely into an understated, cerebral space.

The downside is the middle part of the mix floats by a little too easily. Like many DJ mixes, it peaks early. The opening remix of the Acid’s “Ra” lets a full minute of lush atmosphere develop before the beat kicks in. A mellow-yet-funky bassline drives the track, while analog synths sweep and percolate over the top. There’s even a bit of cowbell for good measure! Fellow sensitive indie types the Invisible supply one of the entire set’s highlights with “The Stain”, a soft, sublime bit of dreampop that simply soaks into your ears. And, lest you float away, it is followed by Cubicolor’s tense, uptempo “Down The Wall”.

At this point, it looks like Body Language, Vol. 17 is turning out to be something special indeed, the rare mix of understated music that is truly engaging. Ghost Culture’s “Mouth” mixes chattering old-school house music with no-wave chill, which is not a bad conceit. &Me’s “Trilogy” plays with cool, wind chime-like sounds. But DJ Tennis’ “Divisions”, featuring WhoMadeWho’s Jeppe Kjellberg on vocals, is nondescript synth moodiness, a description that could apply to most of the half dozen tracks that surround it.

WhoMadeWho themselves provide a nice late-mix lift. Their new “High & Low” places their trademark melancholy against a stark electronic backdrop, punctuated by tumbling sequencers and mini analog storms. An extended coda is richly atmospheric and sad, like shoegaze on downers. The track bodes well for the band’s future studio endeavors. In the meantime, Body Language, Vol. 17 gives you a nice idea of what WhoMadeWho are into lately, and a better-than-average comedown soundtrack.

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