unhappybirthday (Tapete Records / GER)
For Stella Loops, the Hamburg outfit swap the Mediterranean for the Sea of Tranquility, slipping their terrestrial moorings in the name of auditory escapism. Written in part as a response to the enforced inertia of the pandemic and ever-present anxiety of life in the now, Stella Loops finds the group staring skywards, seeking solace in the possibilities of the infinite. Using the sci-fi literature of the GDR as a lyrical launchpad, unhappybirthday stumble, tumble, float and fall through the galaxy, finding freedom in each mantra like vocal.
With space as their place, the group take inspiration from the dreamy electronica of their teenage daze, filtering their yearning melodies and intricate arrangements through core memories of Ultramarine, Gus Gus and The Beloved. Processed beats and blinking sequences underpin nonchalant basslines and graceful guitar licks while nebulous pads provide a woozy weightlessness befitting their cosmic concerns.
Recorded once again in Hamburg and Berlin, Stella Loops sees Daniel Jahn and Tobias Rutkowski working closer than ever with regular collaborator Jonas Meyer, who joined the group in addition to his usual production duties. Hamburg’s Andreas Dorau and Zwanie Jonson return to lend their vocal talents alongside Berlin based Martha Rose, while Finnish legend and Bureau B sibling Jimi Tenor graces album closer 'Jimmy' with an enchanting flute solo. The Bureau B connection also extends to the band’s first ever cover version, a suitably smooth take on 'Lass Uns Überlegen' by the oddball Swiss cassette project Die Welttraumfoscher. The latest evolution of the unhappybirthday sound, Stella Loops is replete with all the chiming motifs and intuitive arrangements we’ve come to expect from the group, this time imbued with a fresh set of influences and intentions. Who knows where they’re headed in the future, but their present is a gift. (Patrick Ryder)
RVDS (Golden Pudel, Bureau B / GER)
RVDS is Richard von der Schulenburg. He has been a resident DJ at the Golden Pudel club in Hamburg since 2005 and produces/DJs house, ambient and techno under this name while also producing/DJ-ing disco under his alias Riccardi Schola.