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Pako & Frederik - Not Quite Kribjekstisch

Author: Aaron Roach
Thursday, May 10, 2007
'Dynamic Duo' is a phrase synonymous with camp comics of the '50s and '60s, folk-friendly music of the '70s and Miami cocaine-busting cops of the '80s. Throughout the '90s, it also became akin to electronic music through the partnership of mega-super Sasha and Digweed. While the world embraced 'Sashweed', another duo began to surface, taking the dance scene by storm.

Pako & Frederik have now been together for more than a decade and are one of the most globally recognised duos in dance music. Maintaining a high and consistent level over that time is never easy, but the boys put it down to one thing, saying "It's as easy as doing a Volendammer clog dance. As soon as you like doing what you do, all is easy."

While Australia is still waiting for the Volendammer craze to sweep our shores, the boys have been busy tying up a new record for the GU imprint. While the debut was a somewhat-straightforward approach comprising dancefloor-friendly music, this time, they are trying to push the sounds in a new direction, even if it means omitting some songs from the disc. More than anything, it's about understanding what tracks work and ensuring the message gets across to not only to the listener, but also themselves.

"We had some weird ideas that were not suited for vinyl or 12", which makes them ideal for an album in a way. Some ideas were way too stupid and had to be ditched because we didn't ... understand the idea behind them. When we listen to what we made for the upcoming album, we sometimes understand it, which is sufficient.

"It will have a strange collection of music on it, some with a Dada approach which makes for interesting listening, some with no bigger ideas behind them, other than 'It's just tunes, mate'."

Electronic music albums never do big numbers, a disappointing reality due to the sub-mainstream nature of the sound. Compounding this is the fact that mixed compilations are inevitably more popular, as most feature the best records from each genre. Pako & Frederik's debut, 'Atlantic Breakers', was not only a must-have album, but also a major foot forward for Global Underground separating from their revered mixed compilation series. However, since the inital artist album release, things have somewhat slowed down, re-inforcing the notion that the dance music world is yet to embrace the non-mixed culture. The duo explain.

"The concept of having an artist album as a DJ/producer is still so 'young', that it's hard to tell if anything is suffering at all. In general, dance music never had a big 'album-culture'. The disco era, for example, left us tons of great singles by various anonymous DJs, but not a lot of albums worth mentioning.

"It's too bad that producers who are into electronica didn't embrace the artist album a few decades earlier. It will make them think differently about electronica, perhaps just because they're not restricted to the 125BPM club tempo a 12" requires."

However, they see it in a positive manner, suggesting that, "One can be quite happy releasing just 12-inches for decades, which is almost unthinkable for traditional pop bands. For them, an albm is the first thing.

"It's clear that a general acceptance of dance music can only help the sales of artist albums and vice versa. Maybe compilations even helped us bridge the gap between releasing 12-inches and releasing an artist album."

The experience of releasing an artist album and a multitude of singles, remixes and compilations, Pako & Frederik are in a position to understand what is going to work for budding punters, and last year formed the Sitrep label to not only release music under different guises, but also encourage new talent, including new whiz-kid, TC Maniak. For them, it's important to promote the new wave.

"It's nice to release stuff which has a different approach and feel, also to work with people with a different perspective. In TC's case, a rather 'peculiar' perspective. The