Back in 2010 i got a promo CD of King and Queen of the Dance Floor by an Atlanta band called La Chansons, released on Stickfigure. This was a husband and wife team of some guy in a baseball hat and big ugly sunglasses and a tiny blonde woman. There were videos that i got emailed links to, but i cannot find them on the Internet anymore.
This band irritated me. The music was boring disco that did absolutely nothing for me. I hated it.
Well, it turns out the keyboardist/producer of that act is Greg Keller. I don't know if he is still married to the blonde, but she is not on this record. And apparently Mr. Keller mostly DJs dance music around town as "Mister Sweatband". Ugh. I bet that dance music he DJs sounds similar to the dance music i remember for La Chansons.
However, Mr. Keller has started releasing some music under his own name, and this is not generic disco or dance pop. Instead, on his own, Keller makes ambient electronica that flows and wavers. The obvious comparisons here include Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, and fellow Atlantan Warning Light.
There are 12 tracks in just under 47 minutes, so there is a lot of listen to. Ambient music is best in that kind of format though -- the songs need room to stretch out.
The record starts off with Chimes a song made up of chiming synths that would not be out of place in the early Aphex Twin catalog. On Fall Keller brings in a simple guitar riff to go with the keys, the guitar slack and echoing, with finger on string noise a rhythmic element of the song.
I won't go over everything here, since it is ambient music after all and there tends to be quite a bit of repetition in that genre.
Crowd brings in samples of birds and slowed down human voices to add a slightly eerie element. It is an environmental track that reminds me of Worriedaboutsatan. Nicely done.
Night on a Train features a steady tickling beat and then whirring space noises. This is far out synthpop, like the minimalist of Boards of Canada tracks, or something from Kraftwerk.
Time Lapse has another guitar sample, and i find these kinds of tracks really work here.
On Tension Mr. Keller tries to bring just that, here through clattering percussion and deep synths, bringing a bare hint of Cabaret Voltaire into what he is doing.
The whole album is nicely done, and it is apparent that Mr. Keller is aware of a lot of ambient electronica that has happened before him. He seems to be adding his own touch to things, not doing anything revolutionary, but doing the music well enough to make it engaging.
I would rather listen to this than to his disco music any day. But i guess i am not really the target audience for disco.
I wonder if he stills wears those big ugly glasses?