Techno tinged pop hybrids COMA first arrived on the Cologne scene back in 2007 when they played at Total Confusion and left with the accolade ‘best gig since 1998’. Two EP’s were released on the Firm label before a swap to Kompakt for a further four EP’s brings us to ‘In Technicolor’, their debut album due in April. It has much to live up to.
Never settled nor seemingly satisfied, COMA duo Marius Bubat and Georg Conrad engage through diversity, a trait reflected in their back catalogue. The malleable bass lines on ‘Embargo’ don’t readily advertise the melancholic vocoders on ‘Reprise’, while the sunlit warmth of ‘Playground Altona’ hardly hints at the busy dance ethos of ‘Hanoi’.
And so to ‘In Technicolor’ and a theme emerges – that of colourful experiences enacted by monochrome characters. The glorious robotic stomp of album opener ‘Hoooooray’ exemplifies this, an automated celebration of down tempo dance, ‘Les Dilettantes’ a showy façade of colour filtered by monotone vocals.
Elsewhere, hints of techno and electro pop aplenty. In favour of the former, ‘Cycle’, a steadily intensifying loop of energy that travels through darkened vistas, the quirky piano riffs of ‘Out of Control’ and ‘maximal MINIMAL’, a precisely named electro shuttle that crosses the road at the sight of pop.
In favour of the later ‘Missing Piece’ re-ignites ‘Technique’ taste buds, ‘My Orbit’ unites sweeping layers of voice and synth and ‘T.E.D’ delivers a bass line last seen flagging a taxi with Chris Lowe. Of all the tracks, ‘#’ seems best placed on our Venn diagram; mechanised samples no indicator of automaton overlords, but rather a palpable sense of amicable melancholy.
‘In Technicolor’ is an intriguing album and one that is true to the COMA blueprint. It rarely settles, oscillating between influences to create an engaging fusion of originality. Here we highlight a clip from the magnificent ‘Hanoi’ feat. Charlotte Bendiks, and full tracks ‘Hoooooray’ and ‘My Orbit’ from ‘In Technicolor’.
This review first appeared in Issue 1 of Electronic Sound, a new magazine dedicated to electronic music past and present, with a diverse mix of genres and an eye for emerging talent. Grab your copy here: http://electronicsound.co.uk/