Kai Hugo in his collective project Palmbomen blends cosmic disco and tripped out, psychedelic synth pop. It’s very cool stuff. Palmbomen II is his solo work. Hugo has taken the idea of giving the titles names of people he may (or may not) know. An idea used by Elgar and more recently Thomas Brinkmann. Instrumental music given human character by simply naming it after folk. I wonder whether these tracks were built in tribute to these names or titled after? I’m of the theory it helps to humanise the music, especially when it’s made by machines. The sound is a vintage melodic mechanical one, classic drum machines to the fore, 303 lines, some insane and wild, and others restrained.
‘Peter Tanaka’ starts on a beach with clockwork rhythms until it rises intensely and the acid line fizzes like it’s gonna burst. ‘Carina Sayles’ has a sun drenched Klaus Schulze feel, the drums played by latino robots while a, dare I say it, balearic synthscape soars across the beats. Lovely stuff. I can see the DJ aficionados warming to this, Mary Louise Lefante has the DNA of Depeche Mode and house music circa 1986, the same goes for John Lee Roche which is a fantasy space house groove, quirky and psychedelic via subtle distortions and analogue filters It’s pure 5am heads down body music for the discerning. Not really a club record but something that I’d love to hear in a club. There’s lots of tape compression and lo-fi touches. Messrs Arp and Oberheim adding to the antique moogy fog.
Teena Mulder is beatless and tropical. A dreamy interlude in an analogue rainforest. Leo Danzinger also loses any sign of drums but this time in favour of an oriental clonk and neo classical theme. An imperfect alien lead line breaking through the almost crumbling tape. Caitlin Ross again without beats is spooky, pacific-island music through a wavering valve radio set. There’s still more to keep your hips involuntarily moving and ‘Gerd Thomas’ returns to that slow burning lo-fi acid house on ancient magnetic tape style once more. ‘Vic Trevino’ is slightly more assertive with it’s pulsing syndromes and hissing hats while ‘Rebecca Waites’ is african in style with deep synthetic talking drum bouncing around the room .
Recorded in his mum’s attic in Breda, Netherlands during a summer lockdown apparently. He should do that again. It really works.