Thomas Fehlmann serves up the second round of, what was on the first round, a tasteful, well-selected mish mash of electronic song that transcended up from standard fare electronica and deconstructs pop and pop structures – all knit together by a summery, tropical sort-of feel.
After a somewhat failed beginning track, Fehlmann rolls into a chill, scratchy Fehlmann-esque number that sets the mood. The fourth track, one of the compilation’s best, instrumentals, comes from Bus. It’s soulful cut-up turntable funk with some of that scratchy ear tickling they all love out in Berlin these days. Monkeytribe then chime in with a seemingly out-of-place but strangely fitting hip-hop tune. Things take a brief detour into poppier territory for a couple tracks with Barbara Morgenstern and Robert Lippock adding a simple, minimally tweaked number and Masha Qrella contributing a syrupy lilting but beautiful indy-pop song complete with strings, acoustic guitars, and vocals.
Lawrence then does a remix of a Turner song that stands as the album’s highlight. It starts off as what could be the intro to a classic 80’s dance floor classic and turns into one of the coolest ambient house tracks I’ve heard ever. T. Raumschmiere’s remix of Komeit lives up to all high expectation. No disappointment in this.
After a second track credited to “Ocean Club” (Fehlmann himself, no doubt – working a little magic to tie things together) we get a surprise appearance from The Orb. Not a bad addition or even much out of place. Though, by now I’ve forgotten about the whole oceanic tropical feel (something not given much rest on the first Ocean Club). The next five tracks get even housier and more dancefloor-ish, blending this collection with other classics in the WMF DJ compilation list (Audio Video Disco, Nighteffect (2), Blaou, etc.). Things then return to form a bit with Jan Jelinek Avec the Exposures and finally, an expectedly beautiful ending by master Ekkehard Ehlers.
Overall, Ocean Club for China hits the highs of all the WMF catalogue greats and stays true to form in delivering something far more interesting and daring than any straight up 4/4 dance mix – attempts at actual song.
Ocean Club for China takes the ear-candied dance music of recent Berlin, Belgium and Northern Europe and attempts to make actual song out of it – successfully on many occasions (like the first Ocean Club). It always takes something original to create a movement in the underground strong enough to change the sound of music. After running its course in the underground, the new sound bubbles its way into pop structures, then, eventually, when the public is ready for something new – into the mainstream. Hence, we hear John Cage theory in a Stereolab hit.
Here, we just get to hear a taste of what’s next before it happens. Of course, these days being what they are, you’ll have to hurry. You have about 10 minutes before it’s already irrelevant.