This morning I saw a guy idling on the ramp of an underground parking garage and waiting to turn into traffic. He had one hand resting on the top of the wheel and what must be an incredible car stereo system was blasting Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly, an album that’s legendary among music producers and audiophiles for its pristine sound quality and a production so incredibly tight it might have been plotted on 1×1 square graph paper by the army of obsessive engineers that worked on it. The guy looked nothing like a Fagen fan, but then neither do I, and there were probably a dozen other closet Fagen fans that day who nodded to the man in the C-class Mercedes jamming “I.G.Y.” at 9am.

If there’s a secret fraternity of fans like that in electronic music, they might be gathered around Ali Berger. The man’s music is highly regarded by your favorite DJ, responsible for a shelf or two of secret weapons and a production style that sounds like it was made to play on God’s own sound system. Good headphones bring it out but shitty laptop speakers and earpods suffice too. “Rhythm & Simplicity,” which sounds like the answer to one of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards, just fills up your ears, your brain, your body with good sound. It plays out how it might be performed: a loop, some percussion, a bassline, chords, samples, waves all introduced piece by piece, layer upon layer, until you find yourself hearing music of impossible density, light enough to tickle your brain and heavy enough to fall through the floor and take you with it.

The tracks on Serious, a new Ali Berger EP on Scissor & Thread, were composed over the course of six years, “from one-take jams to multi-tracked compositions.” “A New World To Forget” is a serious nodding piece, muddy at the bottom but with synths that soar overhead. “Tape Jam Pt 2” is one of the “one-take jams,” we should think, burned into magnetic tape over a chirp of digital chaos and chiseled noise. The title is correct: this is some serious shit right here.

⚪️ Serious Tracklisting

Ali Berger: Serious (Scissor & Thread / May 31 2024 / 12" Vinyl + Digital)
1. Rhythm & Simplicity (05:53)
2. A New World To Forget (05:30)
3. Tape Jam Pt. 2 (03:55)
4. 0221 (Serious Mix) (08:22)
5. Motion Anthem (06:00)

⚪️ Disclosure Statement

This record was submitted as a promo.

⚪️ Previous Coverage

⚪️   New Music: Ali Berger’s Bandcamp is a treasure trove of unreleased gems (2021)
⚪️   New Music: ZG is Zansika Lachhani and Grant, and their debut album is an out-of-nowhere masterpiece (2022)
⚪️   New Music: Listen to Ali Berger’s KEYS THE DOOR Vol 1 (2019)
⚪️   New Music: Francis Harris & Aakmael Meet In The Middle of Mercy of Means (2018)


5 Mag Issue 213
Released: May 2024

ROOTED: This was originally published in 5 Mag Issue #213 featuring electronic music pioneer Laurent Garnier, Monty Luke, Petals In Sound, Henna Onna, Paul Johnson and more. Become a member for $2/month and get every issue in your inbox right away!

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