Sometimes, very occasionally, an album comes along, that from the moment it you first play it, you’re hooked, swept away by its charms and delights. This is what happened when I first received Bara Brost’s second album Kokolores, which will be released by BBE Music on 9th July 2012. From the opening bars of The Gunman, Bara Brost, provide the perfect soundtrack to the long hot summer months that lie ahead. From there, they take you on a journey, where you meet a cast of characters and guest artists. With tracks Juicy Lady, My Mess, Tony Curtis and Stupid Little Story of A Bass Drum, you can’t help but be intrigued. I know I was. Once I put Kokolores on, I didn’t budge until I’d heard the fourteen tracks. During that time, Benjamin Quint and Markus Schwarzbauer, aka Bara Brost introduce guest artists Conan Kowalski, Capey Cash, Igid Pop and Domonique. They all play their part in Kokolores sound and success, as Bara Broest, fuse their unique brand of Deep and Funky House, with elements of disco, poppy hooks and a subtle twist of Detroit Techno. The result is Kokolores, an enchanting, charming and compelling collection of tracks, that are designed to instantly win you over. Before I tell you about the music on Kokolores, I’ll tell you about Bara Brost.
Although the two members of Bara Brost Benjamin Quint and Markus Schwarzbauer have been friends since school, they’ve only been producing music together for a few years. The story of Bara Brost began when Benjamin and Markus started sharing an apartment in the Neukolln district of Berlin. A shared love of house music lead to them converting part of their apartment into a studio. This is where they recorded their debut album Elephancycle, which was released on BBE Music in September 2012.
Elephancycle was what many people would call a concept album, about a night spent at the circus. During the fourteen tracks, Bara Brost introduce you an almost surreal cast of characters. There’s Madame Milla, who heats up the circus tent with her brass band. Then there’s Zebril, an African crocodile who somehow, has managed to swallow a zebra. This brings us to the star of Bara Brost’s show, the bashful elephant Pete, whose speciality is doing tricks on an undersized bicycle. All this takes place against a backdrop of deep and tech house, with Bara Brost supplying hooks aplenty. On the release of Elephancycle, critics were one over by its delights, which was designed to put a smile on dancers and listener’s faces. This it did..and then some.
The following year, 2011 Bara Brost returned, with Elephancycle-The Remixes Part 1, a six track E.P. This whetted the appetite of their ever-growing fan-base, while Benjamin and Marcus worked on the followup to Elephancycle.
Now less than two years later, the followup to Elephancycle, Kokolores is completed, and will be released on 9th July 2012. Kokolores which many people won’t be aware of, is a German word meaning nonsense. It’s a word that’s origins are the sound of a rooster’s crow, but the word was used to describe the nonsensical, cocaine fueled chatter of Berlin’s bohemians and hipsters. However, this music is the polar opposite of nonsense or cocaine fueled chatter. Instead, Bara Brost bring you some enchanting, joyous music.
On Kokolores Benjamin and Markus of Bara Brost collaborate with a trio talented musicians, plus guest artists. They’re key to the fourteen tracks sound and success. Pianist Jonathan Moore, drummer Michael Neuber and Phillipp Stevens play a part in creating the lush melodies, warm welcoming sound, and proliferation of hooks that feature on Kokolores’ fourteen tracks. Along with guest artists Conan Kowalski, Capey Cash, Igid Pop and Domonique Bara Brost fuse Deep and Funky House with elements of disco and pop. These track on Kokolores, not only are blessed with a warmth, but are melodic and hook-laden as you’ll realize, when I tell you about some of the highlights of Kokolores.
My first choice from Bara Brost’s second album Kokolores is The Gunman, which features a vocal from Conan Kowalski. His wistful, melancholy vocal is perfect for the track’s haunting, thoughtful lyrics. They set you thinking. Who is this flawed character that Conrad sings about? He deliver his vocal against a backdrop of meandering, melodic synths and keyboards. Then, Bara Brost throw their first curve-ball of Kokolores. His vocal gives way to crunchy hypnotic beats, while waves of synths, hissing hi-hats and percussion provide a backdrop that’s variously light, melodic, hypnotic and infectiously catchy. Now Bara Brost have your attention, they’ll continue to hold it for a further thirteen tracks.
My Mess Part 1 sees the track head in the direction of Deep House, albeit with a twist of Detroit Techno thrown in. From the get-go, the track is mesmerizing and bewitching, with quality written all over it. A combination of pounding beats, stabs of keyboards and synths that create an entrancing backdrop. Then Bara Brost add the next and vital ingredient. This one is the finishing touch to the track’s sound and success. It’s seductive, sultry vocal from Igid Pop. Her vocal drifts sensually in and out of the track, providing a contrast to the dark beats and stabs of synths. By the end of the track, you realize that this is one of the real highlights of Kokolores.
Let Go features another of the guest artists that Bara Brost introduce over the fourteen tracks that comprise Kokolores. This time it’s Domonique whose the guest vocalist. Her vocal is sweet and soulful, reminiscent of many a soulful house or Nu Disco track. Here, Bara Brost provide a backdrop that sees wave upon wave of synths, pounding beats and percussion combine seamlessly. The result is more than pleasing. They create a track that’s not only blessed with a summery sound, but is anthemic and hook-laden. I’m sure this will be one track that will be a favorite of many a DJ this summer.
On Jimmy, Bara Brost reveal a different side to their music. The arrangement starts off slow and spacey, giving the track a pensive, introspective sound. Unlike other tracks the beats aren’t as crispy, with layers of synths and keyboards unravelling, reverberating, while the vocal is impassioned, heartfelt. There’s even an indie feel and sound to the vocal, which considering the dark, spacious electronic arrangement makes this a compelling and intriguing combination.
Captivating is the only way to describe Like We Do, as it begins to reveals its secrets and subtleties. Immediately, you’re hooked. Swathes and stabs of synths, percussion and dark pounding beats are combined by Bara Borst as the track begins. Then comes Capey Cash’s sassy vocal. It’s accompanied by handclaps, melodic synths, percussion and broody beats. They offer a contrast to the light, bright, melodic synths. Soon, the tempo hits 123 beats per minute, with the track revealing a good-time sound, that has more than its fare share of hooks. For nearly six minutes, Bara Brost have you captivated with their uplifting, refreshing and unique brand of house music with a twist of disco.
Igid Pop whose vocal features on My Mess Part 1 returns on Aerobic. Whether this is a coincidence or not, Aerobic is another of the highlights of Kokolores. It’s an irresistible track, which is full of contrasting sounds. Key to this are the melodic keyboards that are central to track’s sound. They sit well with crystalline guitars, while the beats and percussion drive the track along. Offering a contrast are regular bursts of a dark vocal, which is contrasted by Igid’s carefree, sassy vocal. Soon there’s sensual chemistry developing between the two vocals, the interplay between them, adding to the track’s irresistible quality.
All Over Now sees the return of Domonique, whose vocal on Let Go was key to the track’s sound and success. Stabs of synths and crunchy beats combine to drive the track along, before Domonique’s whispery, breathy vocal enters. Immediately, you realize the vocal is the same quality as on Let Go, but is different. This time, her vocal has an air of mystery. It drifts in and out of the track, resulting in you awaiting its return. Too soon it’s gone. It’s replacement are layer upon layer of synths. These are unleashed in waves, cascading joyously. They sweep you along, on a joyful, melodic journey, while the crunchy drumbeats provide the track’s heartbeat. The result is a glorious slice of Deep House, fused with elements of disco and poppy hooks that again, has the makings of a summer anthem.
Closing the musical adventure that’s Bara Brost second album Kokolores, is Meli Melo. This is just a short two minute track, but demonstrates another side of Bara Brost. Gone is the Deep House of previous tracks. Instead, it’s replaced by an enchanting vocal from Igid Pop. It’s delivered slowly and joyously, while guitars, bass and keyboards create a wistful accompaniment. Soon, the tempo quickens with percussion and stabs of keyboards add to the song’s wistful charms and delights. Far too quickly, the track is over, leaving you wanting to hear much more of Meli Melo and indeed Bara Brost and the subtleties and charms of Kokolores. Soon, you find yourself reaching over, pressing play and enjoying the journey aagin.
Although I’ve only mentioned eight of the fourteen tracks on Bara Brost’s second album Kokolores, I could just as easily have mentioned any one of the album’s fourteen tracks. Given that there’s usually some filler or padding to an album that stretches to fourteen tracks, this is testament to Bara Brost’s musical prowess. To me, Kokolores is essential summer listening, with Bara Brost fusing house with elements of disco and pop. This they do flawlessly, with melodies and hooks aplenty. Tracks like My Mess Part 1, Let Go, Like We Do, Aerobic and All Over Now are proof positive of this and I’m sure several of these tracks will be on heavy rotation during the summer months. Any DJ worth their salt, will unleash tracks like Let Go, Like We Do and All Over Now. They should become many a DJs’ secret weapon. Similarly, anyone whose heading of in pursuit of sun, fun and hedonism should ensure that when packing their bags, among the essentials is an iPod containing a copy of Bara Brost’s second album Kokolores. By then, BBE Music will have released Kokolores, Bara Brost’s second album. on 9th July 2012 So, for anyone looking for a soundtrack to their summer vacation, then Bara Brost’s Kokolores is just as essential as suncream and swimming costumes. Standout Tracks: My Mess Part 1, Let Go, Aerobic and All Over Now.