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Bergheim 34 - It’s Not For You, As It Is For Us

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Artist: Bergheim 34

Album: It’s Not For You, As It Is For Us

Label: Klang Elektronik

Review date: Aug. 27, 2003

An Electronic '80s Pastiche

With continuous advancement in technology, production tactics have changed quite a bit in the past 20 years. The 21st century file-sharing phenomenon has become a legitimate option for assembling an album. Unlike many of their German counterparts, who have opted for a more minimalistic glitch-tech approach, Bergheim 34, four individual artists apparently linked over peer-to-peer networks, has decided to channel its efforts toward sunny, danceable electronics. In addition, their Casio synths, electro beats and harmonizing vocals reek of ’80s nostalgia. In this sense, Bergheim 34 offer up an interesting question: Is technology moving so rapidly that we need to take comfort in a happier, more carefree era?

If “Nasty Girl” has a familiarity about it, it’s probably because it kicks off with staccato beats that lead into a repetitive chorus of “we know if we something”, a phrase all too reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Starting Something”. The occasional suffix “Wooo” sounds like a crowd doing the wave at a baseball game. (Coincidentally, Janet Jackson had a song titled “Nasty Boys”).

Further appropriation from the ’80s comes from an infamous line in Melle Mel’s “The Message” in which Bergheim 34 uses the “Don’t push me cus I’m close to the edge” to help unfold their “Random Access Memory” tale. From the start, subsequent layers of instrumentation build a harmonizing backdrop to the soulful, yet crooned vocals of Anne Vortisch. Her calm, ethereal voice is further explored in System, and aids in bringing together the discord of funky beats, glitches, and spooky cinematic sound effects. ”Take My Soul” has all the makings of a good ’80s electro track with signature claps and a pulsating bassline that mimics the rhythm of the muffled vocoded vocals. (Montreal DJ, Tiga, used this track as part of his electro rendition on his Vol.5 Mixed Emotions CD.)

In Europe, as in America, the market has seemingly become saturated with ’80s knockoffs. It's Not For You, As It Is For Us is, in part, about satisfying the nostalgic appetites of the late-20s / early-30s crowd who might remember a similar sound from their formative years. For others, it may be a new and refreshing concept with a hint of some good times ahead.

By Heidi Chapson

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