Peter Grummich Dinner Music for Clubbers: Peter Grummich Plays Staubgold

[Staubgold; 2008]

Styles: ambient electronic, minimal techno, aei
Others: Dial, ~scape, Max.Ernst, Kranky, Backporch Revolution

Staubgold is a terrific little label situated in curious relation to its German minimal peers. Not quite techno and not quite ambient, leftfield but not so out as to repel the casual listener, what Staubgold has carved for itself isn’t a niche — it’s more like a tunnel system that connects it to its contemporaries without cloning them. On Dinner Music for Clubbers, it’s as if mixer Peter Grummich is traveling through that tunnel system, peeking into dripping caverns and resonant chambers and making careful field recordings of the trip. Perhaps a more apt title for the mix would be Dinner Music for Spelunkers.

Grummich’s mixing on this disc is seamless, and it probably helps that ~scape impresario Stefan Betke, a.k.a. Pole, handles the mastering. The result of their efforts is a beautiful assembly of dub-influenced ruminations that are supposed to soundtrack dinner for clubbers. Near the outset, the weighty breeze of Sack und Blumm’s “To Go To” hushes beautifully into the melting notes of Rafael Toral’s “Optical Flow.” The interpolation of choppier elements, like Andrew Pekler’s “Pluck’d,” endows the mix with lush drama without undoing its contemplative angst.

Indeed, the thick sonic bedrock beneath most tracks allows for musical play above, play that can evoke the snapping of frail stalactites, the drip and patter of sparkling water, even the discovery of subterranean spirits. Despite two long tracks — Reuber’s “Spielkind” and Grummich’s own “Sunbeams," which interrupt the immersive experience the album otherwise provides — the mix does yield a cohesive, moving portrait of Staubgold that should earn both Grummich and the label new fans.

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