For almost two decades, German DJ/producer Roman Flügel has been travelling the globe to bring famed Berlin raves to the masses. Still, his name in this part of North America is largely unknown. You can see the slow shifting recognition on social media; mentions of the 2015 edition of BC’s Bass Coast usually accompanied by an attendee commenting with glee that they’ve had Flügel introduced to them via his standout set. His 2015 track “Sliced Africa” making year end lists aplenty, regular features on late-night BBC programming, and a recent signing to acclaimed label Dial all give the impression that the world may finally be ready for Flügel.
And yet, with All The Right Noises, his first album with Dial, Flügel shows of his brainier side, ditching rave aesthetics for more experimental tones and a sly subtlety that plays better in headphones than on a dance floor. Album opener “Fantasy,” is a beat-less ambient birdsong; the musical equivalent of a clear winter morning. Much of the album is blissful in this way, more akin to his track “9 Years” on this years DJ Koze Presents: Pampa, Vol. 1 compilation.
Not until halfway through the album does Flügel truly drop the hammer with “Warm and Dewy,” even still he holds back with little low-end, opting instead for restless, rolling hi-hats and euphoric melodic haze. The following track “Dust,” continues this trend; it’s an ascendant, afterhours-ready standout, all lightly-lfo’d chords and articulated arpeggiations. All The Right Noises may not be ready for the dancefloor, but rarely does music made with machines sound this lively.