Jeff Özdemir & Friends is a damned good title, for that's what this compilation is, a set of Jeff Özdemir's mates, who showcase the modern urban electro-pop that has become almost ubiquitous in Germany.
What a strange record. Some of it is boring, insufferably twee or seemingly more at home on a German prime time TV. Some of the tracks on this record also bring you in mind - through their very incongruity - of the weird relative at a family gathering. Alogte Oho Jonas & His Sounds of Joy's track, Zota Yinne, for example, feels madly out of place amongst all this urban pop and mild mannered electro; the African skank - however enjoyable - throws you off kilter. But despite the mild confusion, one thing is very clear. Jeff Özdemir & Friends is a damned good title, for that's what this compilation is, a set of Jeff Özdemir's mates, who showcase the modern urban electro-pop that has become almost ubiquitous in Germany. Maybe that's the point, fucking with the listener's expectations by inviting all your mates to make a compilation that seems to be drift by with no indication as to what to expect. Or maybe this record is a gambler's record; confident or reckless enough to throw any caution to the winds, and hope that it strikes lucky by the listener. It nearly fails too. But just at the point where you think, ok, there's not enough to keep on listening, things change.
What makes this record worth checking (and writing about) are the last 7 or 8 tracks, which are bloody marvellous, and give a much needed sense of cohesion and balance. Rimini Sunset's Sunrise is a restrained, neatly-pressed EDM that really threatens to take off but never does, Edwyn Tokyo's Der Typp Ist Fett Dabei is a poppy, funny lecture that gets dizzier as it progresses, and Durand Durand's Born in 19888 harnesses the poldding synth from Radioactivity to make a very moody instrumental. Jeff Özdemir himself also delivers three witty, sometimes sparkling pop tracks; Allein Mit Dem Dualisms being particularly great. Best is saved till second last, though, with JR Plankton's Regen; a meditation that delivers in spades. The track's minimal bleeps and wan synth washes come on a bit like Borngräber & Strüver, which isn't a bad thing at all.