Review: Traumer – 3 Years Ago LP [COSMO015]

Traumer takes the lead of Moroccan label Cosmo Records with new LP ‘3 Years Ago’. Signature of the house, the music stands in between electronic minimal house and traditional sounds of local musicians for a unique crossover.

The album was first conceived in March 2018 as Traumer travelled to Casablanca to meet local musicians and experience the Cosmo studios. He stretched out over nine tracks, moving well beyond the confines of club music, and present something expressive and organic while still retaining his house and techno instincts at appropriate junctures.

Among the artists he worked with were Ayoub Senhaji on percussion and Saad el Bouaamri playing violin and the oud, a short-neck lute-type instrument popular in Arab countries. He also accessed the considerable archives of past Cosmo sessions to sample additional material, and then set to work crafting a body of music with an expansive outlook.

Track ‘Goncourt’ kicks off the LP with a strong percussion rhythm and an infinite loop of oud blended with electronic sounds. A hot piece to warm us up and get us in the mood. It is followed by ‘alqutu’ – a meandering, electrically charged excursion with snappy, jazzy rhythms and a live, in-the-room quality which lends itself perfectly to the deft musicianship from el Bouaamri.

On the B side, ‘Salameche’ certainly aligns with Traumer’s predominant identity in the sphere of dance floor material. A strong minimal/house rhythm first take the lead as subtle oud strings sounds seeps in between the beats, before blending harmoniously all together. The album then takes a U-turn with ‘You Need To Sleep’ as it flows somewhere between a shuffled, micro-edited house groove and scatty jazz. It starts on a blend of percussions before Traumer adds electronic details and a subtle Arabic song to the mix. Eventually, all the elements combine to form a perfect mixture.

Particularly on long form pieces like ‘Tahul’ to open the C side, Traumer masterfully implements his minimalistic approach towards electronic music to the Cosmo aesthetic. His needlepoint programming forms a framework for a rotating cast of players and their distinctive sounds. ‘Mutarada’ explore deeper bass sounds on a circular rhythm before smoothly transitioning to a softer version and making space for the last side of the album.

Dance floor oriented track ‘Mozafoka’ opens up the D side with a mix of percussions and a strong house imprint. The piece’s moody, key laden groove lays a perfect foundation for the sound of Bouaamri’s oud that eventually appears on a second hand. ‘Echapee Belle’ finally finishes the LP on a high note. Traumer builds the track slowly, adding element after element and increasing excitement. The magic is in the details, and on this one it is all about the timing. It has everything: a melodic groovy line, a jazz atmosphere, subtle vocals, percussions, deep violin notes and an intense tension as we are waiting for the climax. The track finally ends on only two elements: percussions to set the rhythm, and an intense violin solo.

In the swirl of delicate, contemporary production and deep-rooted virtuosity, Traumer’s great achievement is in making everything sit together so very naturally. With this album, he definitely showed his talent as a producer to explore his creativity and to adapt to different environment. ‘3 Years Ago’ is the perfect addition to the compelling legacy laid out by previous Cosmo projects, aiming to bring something stimulating and original to the contemporary electronic scene.

The record will be available end of September at Yoyaku, Red Eye Records, Decks etc.

More infos on Traumer
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More infos on Cosmo Records
Facebook | Instagram | Resident Advisor | Soundcloud | Bandcamp Discogs