Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Michael Fakesch, Dos

Michael Fakesch is one half of the German electronica duo Funkstorung (“radio interference”) who are probably best known outside the dance club world for their work with Bjork.  “Dos” is doshis second solo album.

“Dos” seems an odd album in many ways.  The CD is credited to Frakesch but it presents itself as a thoroughgoing collaboration between Frakesch and vocalist Taprikk Sweezee.  Not only does the title, “Dos”, take pains to point out that there are two creators here but the graphics on the elaborate CD packaging (a two headed dog, a head made from two faces etc.) emphasize that this is a collaborative effort.  Frakesch and Sweezee wrote or cowrote all the tracks and both are given programming and production credits.  It makes you wonder why the two of them didn’t give themselves a unique name or at least list the CD under both their names.

The music is bass-driven funk with electronic additions and overlays.  And here’s a second odd thing.  Much, although not all, of the music on “Dos” is very much in the style of Prince.  At first listen the combination of Frakesch’s electronics with the deep funk and extremely Prince-like vocals is intriguing.  However, Sweezee’s vocals are so Prince-like that after listening to the album a couple of times you begin to wonder whether he might have some identity issues .  Prince has made much more than his share of great music that has been and continues to be profoundly influential but this kind of obsessive mimicry is a little scary.  It sounds more like a fetish than an hommage.

Frakesch lays down exquisitely timed and layered electronic beats and flourishes.  His work is rich in variety from measure to measure as rhythms are often carried by different effects over time but it doesn’t sound cluttered.  His work on “Dos” is rich, clean and precise and it works very well. 

“Dos” also features real musicians in the form of a trio of drummers, bass and guitar players, a human beat musician and a trombonist.  Atypical for an electronic dance album, their contributions greatly enrich the CD.  There’s an unnamed hidden track, that combines Frakesch’s electronics with what sounds like musicians playing drums and bass and Helei Jansson’s trombone in what I think is the best bit on the album.  Too bad it’s so short and can’t be cued on the CD player.

Fans of very well executed club-oriented dance music with a heavy funk emphasis will probably enjoy “Dos”.  If you don’t like Prince, you won’t like this.  If you do you like Prince, you might wonder why anyone would bother with such a slavish vocal imitation but if you leave the vocals aside, there’s a wealth of good dance music here.  Come to think of it, maybe that’s why it’s listed as a Michael Frakesch album.


03/18/2008 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews

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