Switched on – Ellen Allien: AurAA (BPitch Control)

What’s the story?

Ellen Allien is riding the crest of a creative wave. AurAA is her third album in as many years, and finds her descriptive music exploring the notion of unseen energies controlling Earth.

As with much of her solo work Allien uses every instrument at her disposal, including the voice – though there are no songs as such here.

What’s the music like?

Mysterious but also affirmative. Allien’s music draws strongly from primal energy, so although the subject matter may often be unseen, she gets terrific momentum behind her music through full-bodied, four to the floor productions.

AurAA harnesses this energy quickly. After the mysterious introduction of Hello Planet Earth, In Music I Trust strips back to the basics and cranks up the tempo, hitting the dancefloor and not looking back. The pounding bass drum is a familiar companion through the album, used for strong effect on Walking In The Dark, dfgdf and Auraa itself, though the textures often pan back to reveal darkly mysterious backdrops.

Allien’s vocals are strange and otherworldly, entirely in keeping with the album’s subject matter but also complementing the dark colours from which she paints her electronic pictures. Walking In The Dark is quite creepy, its vocals transposed and used as the melody, while . That said, there are flashes of light too – as the album cover implies. Hello Planet Earth appears in its original form later in the album, and shimmers in the darkness, while Traum dances with enormously positive energy, acidic oscillations lighting up the sky.

AurAA’s nine tracks are linked together seamlessly, written in the form of a DJ set – so that the breaks between each function as dancefloor-friendly breakdowns – and the closing track, Human, offers a brooding coda in which to come down.

Does it all work?

Yes. AurAA leaves a powerful and personal impression, and the way Allien uses her vocals only heightens the intensity. As an album with a concept it works really well.

Is it recommended?

Yes – well up to the high standards Ellen Allien has consistently met in her album career to date.



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