Roman Flügel – ‘Happiness Is Happening’ (Dial)

Roman Flügel has been one of the underground’s key figures for over twenty years now, and has somehow avoided pertaining to a specific style despite carving his own singular sound across a number of labels and aliases. Whether through the hypnotic minimal Techno of ‘Low Pt. 1’ as Soylent Green on Playhouse, or the pure mindfuckery of Ongaku’s lesser-known Tracks on Delivery series (which arguably features some of his best material), or the more recent downtempo House of ‘Song With Blue’ on Dial’s Fatty Folders, the one common trend has been his distinct ear for melody and tone.

Fast forward to 2014, and we’re given 10 new tracks under the promise that ‘Happiness is Happening’. Opener ‘Connecting the Ghost’ feels like a foray into outer space, and ‘Stuffy’ is on a similar, if a little more delicate, tip, with the kind of his drums we’re so used to from him. ‘Your War Is Over’ demonstrates his rich palette of sounds in one of the highlights of the album – across 7 minutes we’re treated to glitchy percussion, emotive synths, fuzzy white noise and a few stray keys to add texture. ‘Parade’ combines archetypal 80s synths with messed-up, meandering whirls and a few powerful keys straight out of Burial’s ‘Loner’.

None of these tracks feel like the House music we instantly associate Flügel with, but by the closer ‘All That Matters’ this variety in composition proves his flair for breaking down barriers within electronic music.’Happiness is Happening’ is complex, fluent, and exploratory; it’s also as strong as anything Roman Flügel has made to date.

‘Happiness Is Happening’ is out now on Dial. Buy it here.

Chris Williams 

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