It’s not as if electronic music aficionados needed someone like Christian Prommer to explore the musicality of techno and house to prove its worth beyond the dance floor, but chances are that none of them complained when Drumlesson Vol. 1 hit the streets two years ago. Dressed in jazz flourishes with plenty of room for improvisation, the beauty already present in songs like Derrick May’s “Strings of Life” and “Can You Feel It” by Mr. Fingers was reemphasized in a sonically elegant fashion. Drumlesson Zwei marks the return of Prommer along with a band of highly seasoned musicians. Once again, they set their sights on electronic music, but this time the covers aren’t strictly from a jazz perspective.
Carl Craig’s “Sandstorms” begins the journey and sets the mood with tribal and hypnotic patterns between the percussion, bass, and keyboards. The drums take center stage soon after on “Groove La Chord,” reminding all within earshot whose lesson this is. As the other musicians follow suit, the listener is caught up in an avalanche of Brazilian buildups and breakdowns. Laurent Garnier’s “Acid Eiffel” begins as a monologue with a foreboding piano under a single spotlight. As layers are added from the bass to the drums and guitar, the composition takes on a rock aesthetic while holding fast to the spirit of jazz improvisation, allowing the musicians to stay loose even while replicating a locked groove.
Longtime Kruder & Dorfmeister fans will appreciate Prommer’s take on “High Noon,” keeping the sexy shuffle of the original while steering the main theme in a more reflective and atmospheric direction. Meanwhile, the two-part cover of DJ Rolando’s “Jaguar” is the album’s centerpiece and most engaging selection. Part One finds the band rocking out within techno’s parameters and even bringing along a touch of free jazz for the ride. Part Two settles itself within the song’s familiar melody and pays respect to a Detroit anthem in a wholly organic fashion while still killing the dance floor.