25 Years In The Making: A New Archival Release From the Masters of Trip-Hop

I’m very excited about the latest release to arrive at Innerspace Labs. Trip-hop/downtempo gurus, Kruder & Dorfmeister have officially issued an archival double LP originally produced during the prime of their illustrious career. 1995, as it’s called, was recovered from an old DAT, after which the production quality was polished and brought new life for a full-length release on 13 November, 2020.

A gatefold double-LP was issued on the duo’s G-Stone Recordings label exclusively in Austria.

From the duo’s official website: 

The truth was, an album had been finished by the spring of ’95 and all recorded onto DAT and placed in a box. K&D pressed up 10 copies and gave 4 away to some suitably eccentric individuals. Then the room’s doors opened and in a tremendously big cloud of smoke time rushed in, K&D rushed out, and the years went rolling by. The days got filled with remixes, touring and life. The tapes had been forgotten. Then in early 2020 that chance moving of a box at the back of a room exposed the DATs and their time transporting properties. As K&D went through them they ended up comfortable and back in the room and that wonderful haze of 1995. The music was transferred from the DATs and K&D painstakingly rebuilt every molecule that made up the original tapes, So as the rooms bass bins are once again turned out towards the cosmos, K&D are happy and proud to release what they thought were lost moments.

The opening track, “Johnson” samples Robert Johnson to a chilling effect. An official video was produced and is available on YouTube here:

Astonishingly, even now, two weeks after its release there is very little press about the album. This is particularly surprising given all of the other 90s revivalism which is so prevalent in the current age so steeped in nostalgia. There’s not even so much as a blip on boomkat, pitchfork, or any other music news site. While I understand that the downtempo genre is no longer the massive cultural phenomena it once was, news of an archival release such as this born in the halcyon days of the genre from two veterans of the industry should surely deserve more attention than it is receiving.

The only two Google search results for articles on the release are from the trusted and always reliable Ambient Music Guide and a review from Magnetic Mag.

Mike G. of Ambient Music Guide speaks positively of the album, saying:

I’m happy to report that it sounds, well, exactly like a very good Kruder and Dorfmeister album made in 1995. It’s of its time, to be sure, but it’s aged well. Like all the best ambient dance music of that heady era, technology has not wearied it.

1995 is a gift, really, and like all the best gifts it’s a surprise, a substantial piece of 90’s chillout I thought I’d never get to hear.

And David Ireland of Magnetic Mag writes:

1995 is an amalgamation of their most pleasing sounds, vibes, and beats for those that love that jazzy, hip hop instrumental, mid-90s trip-hoppy sound.

The loops, the bass lines, the samples, the breakbeats, the reverb, it’s all here, and it’s lovely to hear it again.

Independent reviews are beginning to appear courtesy of members of RYM, where the release title is bracketed with an “Archival” suffix. There the album holds a respectable 3.57 / 5.0 from 63 ratings.

Overall, the album is a sheer delight and a wonderful surprise to close out an otherwise tumultuous year. So kick back and dig this magnificently cool set, chillin’ like it’s 1995.

Published in: on November 28, 2020 at 9:29 am  Comments (1)  
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An Incredible Grail, and Outstanding Good Fortune

Once in a while, for no particular reason, the stars in your world align and an outstanding bit of good fortune befalls you.   I was the recipient of just such a fortune this afternoon.

Every day I try to take a few minutes to explore potentially rewarding sounds that had somehow previously avoided my radar.  Often I’ll review the universally-acclaimed album charts for a given genre as an interest-of-the-week on rateyourmusic.com.   Sunday morning’s theme was the peak of the downtempo scene – late 1990s utlra-chilled choons filled with trip-hop rhythms, mellow minimal melodies,  jazz-infused horn riffs and the sparse and fragmented fills from a Fender Rhodes.

This was music generally associated with hip, urban cafes in the 90s and found widespread mainstream popularity through Ministry of Sound’s chillout compilations of the cool sounds of Ibiza.

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These compilations are fine if you just want an atmospheric bed of sound for your late night laptop adventures or for small gatherings, but none of these are particularly memorable.  I was on the hunt for an ultra-chilled tour de force – an anthemic masterpiece of critical acclaim.  That album, as I quickly learned, is Kruder & Dorfmeister’s K&D Sessions.

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Originally released in 1998, both the 4LP set and the double-CD versions of the album were issued exclusively in Germany.  The album has since become a holy grail for lovers of dub and downtempo classics.  I was disappointed to find that, bootlegs aside, the album only had one proper release 17 years ago.

But that’s when I stumbled upon wonderful news – it just so happened that the album was newly-remastered by Bernie Grundman for a special 5LP audiophile edition released in March of this year!

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Most of the major distribution channels were sold out, with sellers in the USA asking $110-$169 for copies of the album.  Thankfully, I was able to get my hands on a copy locally this afternoon for $15 and I couldn’t be happier.

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The audiophile edition also comes with a download code for a 24-bit digital archive of the remastered set.  What an incredible addition to my electronic music library!

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Dial the lights down low and let this do its thing.