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Robag Wruhme - Wuzzlebud *KK*

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Artist: Robag Wruhme

Album: Wuzzlebud *KK*

Label: Musik Krause

Review date: Aug. 9, 2004

Robag Wruhme’s debut album, Wuzzlebud *KK*, is being hailed as a re-discovery of techno’s friskiness, an index of forms; a combinatory experience. It’s certainly an aesthetically dispersed and risky gambit, a record that scans through genre fixations like lovers on personals pages. But Wruhme’s best work so far - the Schaffel productions he essayed as one half of the Wighnomy Brothers, with “Bodyrock” the startling peak of their output - hints that Wruhme is best when focusing on one particular form and simultaneously divining its core pleasures and almost wrecking the template. “Bodyrock” was so bare and stentorian, yet so unendingly pleasurable, it peaked out Kompakt’s Schaffelfeiber compilation. What of Wuzzlebud *KK*?

On this album, Wruhme draws from the Warp roster’s lexicon: pellucid shivers, glockenspiel tones, elliptical noises and stray notes. But thankfully - given the dearth of ideas in most Warp-tronica - Wruhme invades the territory with other tools. There’s flesh skimmed from the body of tech-house here, the title track sampling the Schaffel beat (again) from the Kompakt crew, and there’s a rhythmic sensibility so opaque it’s an alternate literal envisioning of ‘broken beats,' rhythms that fall inward and then apart again. A handful of people have tried to claim Wuzzlebud *KK* as 2004’s successor to Villalobos’ Alcachofa, but I can only really hear that on “Mensur”’s gloopy, viscous textures, and on “Fittichklopfer," a composition so deep in digital reverb and dub-scrawls, and so much a hall of mirrors, that it echoes, however obliquely, Villalobos’ own “Dexter.”

The difference lies in the record’s immediate use-value. This is the puzzling thing about Wuzzlebud *KK*. On paper it’s an interesting prospect, some kind of reconciliation of all of these variant strands of tech/-house/IDM thought. But the first couple of listens had me scratching my head, feeling as though I’d just read an essay on the "Breaching the Seemingly Insurmountable Gulf Between Nerd-Tronica and Tech-House." (I am, perhaps, a ‘minimalist’ by nature: the new Melchior Productions album does far more for me, even as it ultimately does far less.) Maybe this is where Wuzzlebud *KK* holds the upper hand, though - it’s a record that reveals more of its strengths as you dive deeper, moving beyond the formal and into the core of the record’s sound (Wruhme’s palette shifts from unrelentingly lovely to stentorian electro to spatial delirium.) I’ve come round considerably to Wuzzlebud *KK* since those first, hesitant listens, but I’m still a little leery about the record. Because sometimes Wuzzlebud *KK* comes across as a little rushed, too eager to say too much in too short a space, hurrying through styles as though it’s a child trying all the presets on their first Casio.

By Jon Dale

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