Prommer’s techno-goes-jazz series continues to be more than simply gimmicky.
Paul Clarke 2010
If Underground Resistance once named one of their Galaxy 2 Galaxy tracks Hi-Tech Jazz, then what Christian Prommer offers on his Drumlesson series might reasonably be called Lo-Tech Techno. Not quite the oxymoron it appears, the Drumlesson concept involves the former Fauna Flash and Trüby Trio member reinterpreting classics from the house and techno canon with a live jazz band. However, if that brings to mind a covers group doing Born Slippy at a wedding reception, the reality is a little different.
Two factors ensure Drumlesson is more than just a gimmick. The first is Prommer’s careful choice of source material, selecting producers from techno’s more intellectual quarters who were themselves influenced by jazz. Let’s face it, this approach is hardly going to suit anything from Surgeon – which is why, on the first edition, Prommer chose to rework Rhythim Is Rhythim’s Strings of Life and Isolee’s Beau Mot Plage amongst others, and why he sets his sights on the likes of Carl Craig and Laurent Garnier here. The second factor in his favour is Prommer’s own pedigree as a producer. That comes more to the fore on Drumlesson Zwei given that he’s added more electronic post-production to the session recordings on this occasion, often in cahoots with Peter Kruder, a fellow Austrian with whom Prommer previously collaborated on the Voom:Voom project.
Their version of Kruder and Dorfmeister’s own High Noon is probably the least successful track here though; given that the original was already a smoky downbeat number, replaying it in the same style but just omitting the Blue Moon sample is pretty pointless. Drumlesson Zwei is best when Prommer take a more radical approach to the originals. Mariachi guitars make The Aztec Mystic’s Knight of the Jaguar sound more related to Ennio Morricone than ‘Mad’ Mike Banks, whilst Stefan Goldmann’s Sleepy Hollow is extended into a Balearic epic somewhere between Pink Floyd and Prins Thomas.
Although Prommer never really surpasses his inspirations at any point, that probably wasn’t his intention. Rather, Drumlesson Zwei provides another angle on his influences and encourages you to listen to them afresh.