“He who loves AND ONE because it sounds like AND ONE, AND ONE shall he get”.
(Steve Naghavi, hell-zone.de interview, 2005)
If dance were a science, what we would need today is scientists that split the atom and tell us what dance really is: how we come to feel it, how we come to do it, and last but not least how we end up knowing how to dance. What with dance not being a science, but an art, and for at least half a century with the advent of popular clubs a very mass-oriented one, it feels sometimes that an album such as AND ONE’s “Tanzomat” (double disc, out on Mar-04, 2011 with Out Of Line) is a cleansing process of the all bad rap of a dance you were owned with in your club life cycle.
In an epoch that gives less and less airtime to quality dance music, because known beats yield more than hidden gems of experiment do, AND ONE figures out a satisfying concept that probably should propel more than one band and more than one audience. If a thing such as the “Tanzomat” they imagine existed, it would be a wonderful and mighty thing: just like a jukebox that is intended for moves, not for tunes, it would be packed with pure potential, that of sending well-choreographed twitches in the right muscles, making you move along to beats you’ve known, but never tried out.
So many of the tracks of AND ONE’s new album stand witness to this. As a band with a positive record of motioning people on the dancefloor, AND ONE provoke and gratify from key one and create new and unexpected harmonies in their new album, fully produced, composed, arranged and remixed by frontman Steve Naghavi. Do not get us wrong: we at VIVA MUSIC enjoy equanimously past and new releases from AND ONE; but “Tanzomat” strikes a different chord and does another trick for AND ONE aficionados.
That what we have in our earphones is one hell of an album is a thing that it testifies to itself, from “Save the Hate”, the first song on the first CD of the album. A vivacious start-up song that gives color and hue, it provokes the senses in a typical AND ONE fashion, with labyrinth loops that recall at the same time top level video games and amorous pursuits. “Shining Star”, a VIVA MUSIC album favorite, gives extra-credit to the album: a well-formed beat is further embellished by Naghavi’s pining vocals. A shrewd, but methodical track, it comes to match in pattern and style other AND ONE electro-elegies and is truly a song to remember.
“Only Your Dreams” is, on the other hand, a swift change of beat in AND ONE’s imagined movebox: together with the ensuing “Dancing in the Factory” (pretty evocative image, is it not so?) they sound like what tribute to electronic music golden era should sound like, but they feel a little different in sinews and muscles: they create a new beat, one to experiment and accomplish where else, on the dancefloor.
If so far the album provides quality dance electronica, it is time for the cruder, EBM feel to pop. “Angel Eyes” is a wonderful track, kicking in and at the same time dropping off, creating a mesmerizing effect worth millions. “Seven” reminds in a way of prior AND ONE releases, but then so does it remind in a teasing way of all the music anyone who grew up in the 1980’s listened to, and what’s more, not in a copycat manner, but quintessentially.
While doubts may arise in the case of a track entitled “The Aim Is in Your Head” which reeks in an awkward way of social or otherwise political engagement, what the song truly is about is more disengagement than its opposite: it rolls back and forth a mental state from acuity to serendipity in a true-to-itself EBM track. “Electrocution” does the trick, too – a darker track, it gives away feelings of entrapment, anxiety in a very creative and novel manner.
What follows next is a true cascade of dance beats. “Sex Drive” brings to mind vintage photography and remote and rudimentary technology of the USSR, late-blooming modes, dress codes that now seem risible, all in all it encompasses great strides of time and space in just a couple of minutes. And if the aforementioned conceptual associations seem risqué, it is time for “Playing Dead” to cumulate the same confirming and rewarding feeling, and to plus it on the dark side with momentous instrument: an insidious track, “Playing Dead” is reassuring just as it is making hairs stand on end.
The same escalating electronica plus pining vocals of Naghavi set up the next track, “No Song for You”. Just like artists who had their say declaredly on AND ONE’s music, namely Depeche Mode, AND ONE create undeletable experiences you can relate your feelings to, or even better, surround yourself with when things get tough. An irreplaceable experience, “No Song for You” strikes new and old at the same time, and with a twist. Closing “And I Love You” does again a great job of feelings of inadequacy and unrequited love, making up for a true-to-life 21st century romance.
Nicked “Live 2010 – The Specials!” the second disc of the new album from AND ONE mimeographs the entire existence of the band in one incredible live compilation. Delivered with great gusto by the 2010 lineup of the band (Steve Naghavi, Chris Ruiz and Gio Van Oli), the album provides quality listening material from the first release of AND ONE to their latest.
Here are the songs in the order of their chronological release: from “Anguish” (1991) we have a great performance of the homonymous track “Anguish” and of “Second Front”. Following up close with AND ONE memorabilia, a less known track, but nevertheless precious from their 1992 EP “Monotonie” is “Over There”. Great vocal virtuosity and well-concerted instruments are so on when it comes to “Tanz der Arroganz”, the track from their 1993 “Spot” album. A momentous year for the band, when the world first heard of ‘Germany’s #1 Synthpop Act’, 1994, is well represented by live renditions of “Klaus” from their maxi album “Driving with My Darling”, but also with “Ego” from their full length album “I.S.T.at”. “My Warrior” documents 1997’s album “Nordhausen”, while “Men in Uniform” and “Love & Fingers” hail from their 1998 album entitled “9.9.99 9 Uhr”. Last but not least, a great stride in time brings “Sexkeit” from their universally acclaimed album of 2009, “Bodypop”.
Disc One“Save the Hate” “Shining Star” “Only Your Dreams” “Dancing in the Factory” “Angel Eyes” “Seven” “The Aim Is in Your Head” “Electrocution” “Sex Drive” “Playing Dead” “No Song for You” “And I Love You”
Disc Two – Live 2010 – The Specials!“Ego” “Second Front” “Love & Fingers” “Men in Uniform” “Sexkeit” “My Warrior” “Tanz der Arroganz” “Klaus” “Anguish” “Over There”
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