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B. Fleischmann 

Welcome Tourist

Wednesday, Nov 26 2003
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B. Fleischmann's third full-length, the two-disc Welcome Tourist, could easily have been called Never Mind the Dance Floor, Here's the Mattress. As with past efforts, the German producer traffics in a kind of sleepy electronica that seems perfect for dozing on lazy afternoons (and, conversely, rather dangerous for long-distance drives). There's an unhurried pace to his tracks, a circular logic to the looped drums, elegant synth lines, and plaintive piano figures that creates a warm, drowsy feel.

Fleischmann begins Welcome Tourist with a sampled quote from Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, in which the author argues against the tyranny of the workplace and the commonplace. On "Le Desir" (one of two vocal tunes here) guest singer Christof Kurzmann addresses similar ideas, suggesting people should carpe diem. "There's more to life than the everyday's routine/ Keep this in mind till life becomes your dream." (A fine concept, unless your everyday routine is preventing the cops from confiscating your shopping cart.)

For the rest of Welcome Tourist -- especially disc two, which is one 45-minute-long track called, aptly enough, "Take Your Time" -- Fleischmann seems to be living within his dreams, concocting soundtracks to that bleary area between waking and wondering, between traveling and observing. Whereas sleepy electronica artists like Boards of Canada or Aphex Twin place jarring shards of noise on their albums, causing dozing listeners to leap from their beds, Fleischmann maintains his quiet, ruminative tone throughout. To make sure that the proceedings never drag, the producer peppers his skeletal structures with weeping pedal steel, breathy sax, and rolling piano. Best of all, the one-time altrocker embraces his roots more often than on past discs, wrapping songs like "As If" and "A Letter From Home" in luscious guitar feedback. Everything comes together in "Take Your Time," an evocative travelogue mixing found sounds from Fleischmann's own wanderings into delicate noise and chattering electronics. Over time, Welcome Tourist feels like a call to arms, whether it be to travel or to sleep, perchance to dream.

About The Author

Dan Strachota

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