Still Parade, aka Niklas Kramer, graced us with a marvelous new album that contains a rawer, more unrefined feel than his 2013 hit single, “Anchors”, which has garnered over 900k plays on SoundCloud and was featured last year in an ad campaign for Victoria Secret. Maybe the rawness of his new album, Concrete Vision, is due to Kramer’s new tape recorder he received from his father as a gift. While his previous outputs had all been recorded within fully equipped, professional studios with experienced producers, Kramer has wiped clean his old music regime and generated his own sounds in his tiny Berlin apartment.
But the music’s antique feel does not undermine the exceptionalism of this album. From the start, Kramer transports your senses into an estranged environment. Let’s put it this way…if you ever get kidnapped by aliens, thrown onto a spaceship, and transported to another planet, “Seasons” is what would be playing once you step off the spaceship. Wobbly bass lines and mysterious, muffled vocals create an otherworldy, dreamy, and mysterious feel that continues throughout the entirety of the album. Similarly, the track “7:41” brings you back in the spaceship. Except this time, instead of stepping out of it, you’re just chillin’ as you soar through space. But for real, the funky instrumentation on this track added with a bumpin’ bassline creates an out-of-this-world track.
Additionally, songs like “Concrete Vision” and “Everything is Going Down (Again)” embody the epitome of “lo-fi” feel that makes it feel like everyday is a lazy Sunday. The drawn-out guitar riffs and bass beats create an undeniable, psychedelic-slacker vibe. Similarly, “Everything is Going Down (Again)” incorporates a sound akin to Mac DeMarco’s “Chamber Of Reflection” off his 2014 album entitled Salad Days. However, where DeMarco’s vintage-styled recordings can at times sound ambiguous and outdated, Kramer’s crystal clear vocals atop the hazy atmosphere create a creative composition that balances both a retro and modern-day sound.
The influences from Concrete Vision are diverse and eclectic, spanning across multiple eras. The catchy track entitled “True Love” balances multiple eras of music. It sounds like The Breakfast Club meets modern-day electronic music. At times, the new-wave synths take center-stage while at other moments the modern-day micro-beats are more prevalent. Either, way, this song balances the progression of electronic music by incorporating various aspects electronic that are popular both today and in the 1980’s.
Be sure to check out “Walk in the Park”, easy and enjoyable to listen to as a walk in the park (hence the name…). The instrumentals feel smooth and silky, like a delicious piece of fancy chocolate. The constant conga drums united with the tambourine make this track especially notable.
Overall, Still Parade’s softness and warmth that he has developed throughout this album leave the listener feeling at ease and content. Give this album a listen!
Concrete Vision is out now via Serve & Volley Records.
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