With ‘Municipal Dances’, Karras have produced an accomplished debut straddling left field pop with accessible experimentation. The record shifts easily between upbeat electro, melancholic synths and driving motorik rhythm. Lukas and Matthew first met in 2004 when their then unsigned bands (Maximo Park and The Rakes respectively) played a show together, and became friends whilst on various tours and festivals until the Rakes disbanded in 2009. Some years later, when their paths crossed again at a gig in London, their conversation quickly returned to music-making and a discussion of influences beyond the ones for which they’d first become known. Chief among these influences was instrumental music: kraut rock and disco; post rock and kitsch; artists ranging from Roedelius, Daft Punk, Tortoise and Todd Terje. “The idea of instrumental music attracted us as a challenge - to write music with a pop ethos, with hooks and catchy melodies but without the fall back of a vocalist”.
Lukas Wooller Municipal Dances finds the duo bringing years of experience onto a record abundant with the ethos and sensibilities both musicians have developed a reputation for. Infectious hooks and expressive melodies abound from the guitar and synthesisers, accompanied by a mixture of electronic beats and live drums played by Dean Valentine Smith. These crafted and honed pop instrumentals successfully combine contrasting references and distinct eras resulting in a sound at once retro and unmistakably a product of now. As with Swinnerton’s Lampenfieber previously released on Trestle, leftfield pop, in all it’s guises, is drawn upon to create music destined to be appreciated by a broad spectrum of listener.
The record has a loose narrative based on a day in the life of a modern city dweller, navigating their way around an urban environment, enacting the various behaviours unique to a metropolis in 2017. The cover design references a dance step guide, albeit in an abstracted form, rendered using the industrial flooring of the type used in public buildings and on public transport. In naming this new project, Matt and Lukas used a derivation of karass, a word originally attributed to Kurt Vonnegut who used it to describe a group of people linked in a cosmically significant manner, despite superficial linkages not being evident.
©Trestle Records 2016