The first thing you need to do, is to forget every single myth you might have heard about artists and their second albums. The pressure and the struggle, the urge to change direction, to "get serious", to fulfill expectations. Some things just come naturally. Ask Ji-Hun Kim and Julian Braun about "Wisdom Is A Dancer", their second album.
When it comes to dance music, albums tend to be quite loose affairs. A compilation of tracks rather than something composed from A to Z with a particular dramaturgical structure in mind. So there comes the first track (hello!), followed by another and another and yet another one. The mechanics of the dancefloor are powered by small, easily digestible pieces of music, most of them little more than fragments striving to be part of something big. Or bigger. Serving a clearly defined purpose, it is constructed with a well-defined image in mind, aiming to be the perfect backdrop for an even more perfect moment on the floor. Recording an album worth of material is not necessarily the difficult part. What's more complicated is giving these compositions meaning, putting them into context, making them sing together. That's the other question you might want to ask Kim Brown. Because the managed to do exactly that.
2 years ago, Kim Brown proclaimed "Somewhere Else It's Going To Be Good". In order to come to this conclusion, they'd moved their studio to a cosy beach house up the Danish coast, the perfect get-away from their bustling Berlin homes. They took the scenic route to get there, too, observing the subtle changes of nature outside the car windows, listening to whatever fitted what was passing by, getting ready for what was coming. Because that would be what they would work with. Had to work with, actually.
Turns out, it was going to be good somewhere else. Everywhere, to be precise.
While the success of the album kept Kim Brown busy for quite some time DJing, doing remixes and playing critically acclaimed live shows, the duo almost immediately started to sketch out ideas for the follow-up. Spending more and more time in their rebuild studio in Berlin-Kreuzberg, where even in kebap take-away places the meat is chopped off the spear to the bangin' rhythm of bass drums, they decided to both record and finish the record in this particular and rather peculiar neighbourhood, allowing day-to-day life in the streets to spill over into their new tracks, to further thwart their idea of dance music to whatever was being played in the clubs nearby. How much of a song can there be in a track? It was this question which kept Kim Brown going for almost 2 years. How to keep the well-defined base of House Music interesting, how to gently yet firmly obscure obvious structures, approaches and habits. How to successfully put the cart before the house horse in 2016. "Wisdom Is A Dancer" is the musical manifestation of that project, split up into 9 unique, heart-conquering chapters. Tracks. Songs. You get the idea.
You probably know by now what it sounds like, too. Who reads press releases first and pushes the play button after? Let's start at the top. "Rehearsed Engineering", the brilliantly named intro referencing the overall theme of the album to reverse engineer house music, puts the dusty flute sounds of the mellotron front and centre, reintroducing this tape-based sampling device onto the dancefloor for the very first time since Kraftwerk, neatly balanced against rhythmic loop fragments, bitcrushed on purpose. Keep this sweetness in mind while carrying on, it will be shepherding you throughout your ride with Kim Brown. While we're at it: "Everything But A Piano" is best enjoyed at a steady pace, be it your own or behind the wheel, letting the engine do the work. With its glistening chords, subtle strings and its beautifully reduced drums it is one of these tunes which are supposed to go on forever. There is an overall theme to the production of "Wisdom Is A Dancer" it seems. Let the sounds be sounds, the melodies be melodies. Do not overreach, do not open the bag of tricks a modern computer offers these days too often. If at all. Just let the music be. It is strong, mature and utterly unique. Nobody does that anymore these days. Why? Another question to ask Kim Brown.