Switched On – WhoMadeWho: Synchronicity (Kompakt)

reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

Copenhagen trio WhoMadeWho are an established and much-loved force in electronic music, bringing together their various backgrounds of rock, jazz and dance to a project that is always interesting to chart and invigorating to listen to.

Synchronicity suggests more of a jazz influence, and indeed it is there in the idea that each track should be a collaboration with one of the many artists they have rubbed shoulders with along the way. It is their first album for Kompakt in eight years, and includes staples of the label Michael Mayer and Robag Wruhme, part of a guest list also including Axel Boman and Frank Wiedemann.

What’s the music like?

Although it is a set of collaborations, Synchronicity is carefully planned and structured, making a coherent album that works really well from start to finish. Like a DJ set it has a measured beginning, working through Frank Wiedemann’s collaboration Dream Hoarding to hit the groove with Sainte Vie in Hibernation.

There are some really excellent tracks here, from the moody and atmospheric Oblivion, with Mano Le Tough, to the strutting groove of Hamstring with Michael Mayer and the broken beat of Peter Pan Me, another Wiedemann co-write. The slinky undercarriage of Twenty Tears, with Rebolledo, is notable, as is the slightly dubby Anywhere In The World, a shimmering delight in the company of Axel Boman. To illustrate the variety on the album, the preceding Shadow Of Doubt, with Adana Twins, has a lovely open air twang to its guitar, while the scoring for the strings in Cecil – with Echonomist – is sublime.

Does it all work?

Yes. WhoMadeWho work economically, so their percussion is never crowded but still hits the right mark – and their vocals are on point too. Synchronicity could easily lose its emotive punch given the number of people involved, but that doesn’t happen at any point.

Is it recommended?

Yes. The Copenhagen trio are still not as well known as they should be, despite the love they get in electronic music circles, and this release really should propel them onto the playlists of anyone looking for something switched on and new. A really excellent album.

Stream

Buy

You can listen to clips of Synchronicity and purchase on LP, CD or download at the Kompakt website

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