CD, Artoffact, 2008
“Atmosphere” is a term that’s very loosely bandied about when discussing music. Every now and then, though, something happens to make you rethink your definition of the term, and Standeg is just one of those things. Understated, cerebral and deeply engaging, the electronic compositions of Björn and Sven Jünemann are something to behold.
From the first deeply resonant piano notes – insistently tugging at you to pay closer attention – of “Replikant”, the immense emotional charge the Jünemanns have imbued this album with is an unmistakeable presence. Despite its generally soft overtone, this music cannot remain in the background for long: Standeg makes its presence known and leaves its mark. Although the musical style itself is nothing particularly new – downtempo EBM with a more melodic focus, as performed by acts like Ivory Frequency or Forma Tadre and perfected by acts like Haujobb (of which the Jünemanns were founding members) – it is done with such grace and style that you can’t help but sit up and take notice. In a word – goosebumps. Tracks like “Revolv|ex|” (a 12-minute odyssey of constantly evolving, never boring, soundscapes, rhythms and textures, replete with harsh industrial stabs amidst moments of piercingly clear string melodies) raise the hair on my neck in a way I haven’t experienced in a long time.
But despite these similarities with their alma mater, Standeg show enough of their own creativity and expertise to make “Ultra High Tech Violet” a winner in its own right. In fact, this album doesn’t even need the added legitimacy of their upbeat, dance-oriented cover of the Haujobb classic, “Homes and Gardens” to make it an attractive and worthwhile addition to any collection. The brooding, dissatisfied trepidation that permeates the majority of the album makes for chilling (not chillout) listening, as well as generating an air of menace that Yoda would have done well to warn Luke away from. This is the real dark side of the force, and it’s excellent. If it wasn’t for the over-dependence on their previous successes as a foundation element of Haujobb, “Ultra High Tech Violet” would be perfect. As it is, it comes damn close.
— David vander Merwe