Take it for what it is, Âme Live is exactly what it says on the tin.
“We often got asked ‘who’s playing tonight – Kristian or Frank?’ so we thought a split would make things clearer for our audiences. Now, it’s always Kristian when it comes to DJing and me when Ame live is announced” Wiedemann explains. “The split also reflects a bit more of our workflow in the studio. Kristian is a classical producer who always sees the whole song and I’m the musician, giving specific input to the tracks we create.”
- Interview with Defected
When Âme (pronounced "Ahm") did a crossover and broke through with that infectious Rej (2006) and also their much lauded Âme…mixing (2006) mix album on Sonar Kollektiv, they introduced a scene of house that was not quite New York, Chicago or Detroit, but further away in Germany.
Comprised of Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann, the duo soon set up Innervisions with Dixon, a label that was to release music by Henrik Schwarz, Tokyo Black Star as well as lesser known artists such as Culoe De Song and Kuar. Over the years, Innervisions has built a reputation for quality cuts with a distinctive sound to call its own. If I were to attempt a description (much to the ire of genre-defiants) it would be somewhere between neo-africanism and German minimal. Innervisions has since started a sub-label called Muting The Noise, of the same name as a Japanese-inspired ambient compilation they released earlier. So it goes.
Having been relatively quiet on the output front since their prolific rise, Âme now presents an album of recordings, putting together a sizable amount of their catalogue updated and reenergised with a live twist.
Now, the live act as opposed to the standard DJ act is somewhat of a relatively new phenomenon when aided and abetted by the use of the eponymous software, Ableton Live. Live has given producers (and also DJs) a new way to perform their music by creating new versions of tracks in realtime to an audience with just a laptop. So new is this performance style that I posit that critics have not learnt the language to appreciate it yet. But what this album does is engender a deeper understanding of what playing a live set in an electronic context means.
If you are an Âme fan, you will appreciate the little differences that this album brings to the table, for example the note change of Nia's opening melody or a new jazz-like breakdown of Rej. To some these may be minuscule turns, but to others a delightful retake. Like jam bands such as Grateful Dead or Phish who perform new versions of songs at every gig, I venture that a live set has a similar ethos.
As a whole, the album is a glorious one. It leads you into an attention-grabbing opening with an interpretation of Roy Ayer's Tarzan before going through other favourites new and old such as Osunlade's hit Envision, Henrik Schwarz's D.P.O.M.B. and of course their very own Rej. The overall tone is gradious and sweeping, with enough ebbs and flows and vocal tracks to spike human interest throughout. The album ends with a beatless version of their remix of Gui Boratto's This is Not the End.
Would I have liked an entirely new track included? Yes. Would I have liked all the unmixed versions of these track recordings added as a double pack? Yes to that too.
My other real beef is that listening to anything live is a bit like having only one artist on play for too long. In this generation of mashup, 1-minute mixes and DJs next door pairing two and two eras together, the overall menu may seem a tad bland, especially when you have heard it all before. And that's where the performance aspect comes in. If one can make each set as new, energetic and refreshing as the last, while performing the same songs (and even in the same order), we have a winner.
01. Roy Ayers - Tarzan (Ame Remix)
02. Ame & Amampondo - Ku Kanjani
03. Ame - Nia
04. Osunlade - Envision (Ame Remix)
05. Ame - Enoi
06. Unkle - Hold My Hand (Ame Remix)
07. Henrik Schwarz/Ame/Dixon - D.P.O.M.B.
08. Rodamaal - Insomnia (Ame Remix)
09. Ame - Junggesellenmaschine
10. Underworld - Crocodile (Ame Remix)
11. Henrik Schwarz/Ame/Dixon - Where We At
12. Ame - Rej
13. Ame - Setsa
14. Gui Boratto - This Is Not the End (Ame Beatless Mix)