Duo505 – Just An Illusion

B.Fleischmann is an Austrian musician that makes, for lack of a better word, electro-accoustic soundscapes. I have two of his CDs and, to give you a perspective, one contains two tracks (one is 52 minutes long) and the other is a double CD in which each CD contains one 50 minute (I believe, live) track. Some of his other albums are more conventional but these two are my first impressions of his work. You can get a sampling of his music at myspace. Listen to “excerpt from melancholie” specifically.

Herbert Weixelbaum is an Austrian musician that fell head-first into the world of gameboy music. He’s appeared on the 8-bit Operators “Tribute to Kraftwerk” and other chiptune compilations. If you’re at all into the Gameboy sound you might have seen a comparison of the waveforms of the many, many different Gameboy models (yes, they sound different. Some even sound different depending on whether the backlight is on or not.) That was him.

Apart from being Austrian musicians, the two don’t seem to have much in common but in 2004 they worked together and formed duo505, releasing the album “late.” I was introduced to this album a couple of years ago at Penguin Records in Toronto and I enjoyed it in occasional bursts. The duo505 sound (again, myspace link) was what you’d have expected from such a pairing. “Hi lo-fi”, as they say. The Gameboy sounds were there, with the more acoustic soundscapes, but they never were overpowering except on one track, “Nochwas” (link to embedded video.) The Gameboy was just another tool in their electronic mosaics. It worked well.

duo505 - Another Illusion

Skip to 2008. Duo505 releases a new album, Another Illusion, you can listen to some of it at lastfm, and I’m listening to it when I get to the song:

“Just An Illusion.”

It starts as this light and fluffy thing, which is already quite different from anything on the first album, before the synth lines start. They settle in and then the beat kicks in and the music ramps up and builds and the female vocals start. What? Then comes the chorus, consisting of some vocoded voices singing backup to a Kraftwerk-ian synthesized robot. At this moment I’m wondering “what the hell is going on here?” There were absolutely no vocals on “late.” There’s some piano in there too and glitchy distortions and, seriously, what the fuck?

The song finishes and I surmount my initial shock and reevaluate what I just heard. It was pure, unadulterated synthpop and it’s a complete aberration from the rest of the album which, for the most part, is more in line with their debut release. It’s as catchy, and as corny, as anything else in the genre and I love it. I then wish that more of the album was like that. The rest of it is still good, but it will be enjoyed in occasional bursts. “Just An Illusion,” however, will enter my more frequent playlist.

Addendum. Aha! No wonder why it’s so different: it’s a cover of a 1982 disco track by the band Imagination.

Modal image