Tosca are Richard Dorfmeister (one half of remix class act number one Kruder & Dorfmeister) and Rupert Huber, and the two men have continued to hone a fascinating mix of pop and dub, with their latest 2 cd set Dehli 9 laying claim to more of that pop-land than on their previous efforts. And I think it is the combination of this pop song bent coupled with some choice collaborations which help make this cd one of their best. Tosca combine a sublime notion of dub with a mesmerizing brand of pop music with a funk / dub edge which never gets too intrusive.
Taking their instrumental beds one step further, Tosca are helped on many tracks here by vocal guest artists Anna Clementi, Tweed, Earl Zinger, Sugar B, and Stephan Graf Hadik Wildner. Nothing truly earthshaking ever occurs, but that really isn't the point when it comes to a sublime chillout effort like Dehli 9. Where this is room for expansion is where there is room for a remix, and don't be surprised if this disc gets better as it progresses.
Dehli 9 starts out strong with help from Tosca's friend Anna Clementi adding her dreamy vocal style to a bass popping song called Oscar. The rhythm scutters along, and Anna sings wordlessly, and Oscar is a great pulsing introduction. There's only a slight misstep with the grating uninvolved Me & Yoko Ono (also featuring Anna Clementi) which makes this cd sound like a collection of singles for a minute.
Things get right back on track with the ultra dub of Gute Laune featuring Tweed on vocals. I love the use of reggae drum fills mixed with the keyboard melody and popping rhythm. I'm not usually crazy about the dancehall style of vocal, but it works for Tosca. This song could've stayed an instrumental though and I would've been happy. Next is the instrumental Mango di Bango which again centers attention on that great bass sound as it slips and slides through the walking rhythm and subtle distorted guitar. The wah wah guitar is a nice touch reminiscent of Miles Davis Get Up With It album from the early 1970s and the keyboards remind me of the Doors (if they ever had gone dub).
Wonderful includes the echoed, whispered vocals of Earl Zinger which mixes well with some plucked guitar melodies and jews harp - not one of the my favorite cuts, but not really too bad. Every Day & Every Night works a lot better for me - it has Sugar B. on lead vocals and a mix that reminds me if Pink Floyd had done some dubwork outs thanks to the creepy buzzing that comes in every so often, the keyboards, bass and modulated vocals straight off the mid 1970s Pink Floyd album Animals. Dave Dudley is another instrumental which has some great keyboard-like plucks reminding me the Get Carter soundtrack but with more space rock noodlings to chill it.
Rolf Royce is the last track to feature vocals - those of Stephen Graf Hadik Wildner - and is for sure the best track on the album. All of the best elements of the other songs culminate here. This song is sure to have some sort of remix future ahead of it. Sperl and La Vendeuse des Chaussures des Femmes Part 1 finish out Disc One with two superfine instrumentals which include heavier doses than usual of Tosca's piano based melodies. In fact these two tracks are a much better way to spend your time than listening to disc two of Dehli 9 which includes a whole disc's worth of just their piano music. Disc Two is their attempt at creating a piano ambient chill disc but it doesn't really work. The piano melodies are best delivered mixed in with a hot rhythm than left alone with only the smallest tweakings. It's too bad they didn't dedicate disc two to remixes of songs from disc one. The best I can say about disc two is put it in your multi-disc cd player so it can be mixed with some other Tosca. Mostly, spend your time with disc one of Dehli 9.