Aera – Off Season Traveller
I have to confess that since stumbling across the ‘Third Wave EP’ back in 2011 (I think) I’ve been more than a little taken with the music of Aera.
I won’t go into all the promo blurb because as usual I put the pdf in the bin, so I know nothing of the man with regard to his personality or his struggles, which in all honesty I would prefer. I do however have two biographical morsels for you to chew on, they are as follows.. His real name is Ralph Schmidt and he lives in Berlin, it all adds to the mystery I suppose.
The funny thing about ‘Offseason Traveller’, as with most of Aera’s stuff is it smacks of music that I’m often heard slating, such as (minimal) Techno, Trance and even some distinctly Coki-fied bassline oscillations (lord have mercy) but the amazing thing, at least in my opinion, is that he pulls it off! And not only pulls it off but makes an intense and highly enjoyable musical journey out of it too. Although I love it, Dance music is fickle and has a short shelf-life. Artists and labels are always running the risk of being cheesy in a year or two and what’s more there aren’t many good albums; ‘Offseason Traveller’ however is most certainly a good album, possibly even a great one.
The most striking thing about the whole affair is the ease with which Herr Schmidt twists and turns through styles and speeds without ever losing the flow. From the foundations laid down by ‘Kiss Off’ and ‘Baby-Comet-Face’ through to the off-kilter Balearic-ey sounding ‘Fever Beach’ with its honey dripping 80’s porn sax samples, complete with troughs and peaks that wouldn’t seem out of place on a Vangelis album, climbing right up to the 140plus bpm metronomic attack of ‘Chevere’ and dropping right back down the other side of the mountain through a series of beautiful melodic techno pieces before being slowly dipped into the lullaby dream sequence of ‘By the Red Lake’
all in all a release to be proud of and if you don’t believe me, he’s only been nice enough to up clips of the whole thing, ohhh what a lovely lad.