ELLEN ALLIEN Dust (BPitch

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Con­trol) On “Flashy Flashy,” the sec­ond song on Dust, Ellen Allien sings a duet with her­self. One voice is her nor­mal sing­ing voice. The sec­ond voice is dis­torted in a way that makes her sound like an an­droid. The two voices sing “flashy, flashy, flashy, flashy disco lights” over and over again, un­til you’re un­sure whether the word is “flashy” or “fleshy.” It’s a nice sum­mary of the di­chotomy at work on Dust, an al­bum that fuses cold techno beats with warm, per­sonal songcraft and makes it all sound wholly or­ganic. This makes sense: Ber­lin-based pro­ducer, DJ, la­bel head, and fashion de­signer Allien has been steeped in the Ger­man rave scene for so long that her pulse prob­a­bly clicks along at 135 bpm. Dust is of­ten min­i­mal­ist in its ap­proach. It’s not un­com­mon to hear a gui­tar in a mi­nor key or a hint of a clar­inet among the mor­ph­ing beats, and these flour­ishes have a way of hid­ing in plain sight. Yes, it can get too pre­cious at times (I re­fer you back to those flashy, flashy lights), and may oc­ca­sion­ally feel too Euro­pean, too Ger­man, for Amer­i­can ears. But when she sings, “I close my eyes, I hear the sound of the night” on “Sun the Rain,” she shows you, not just tells you — it’s the story of her life. — Robert Ben­ziker

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