Le Millipede is one man (Mathias Götz), but as seen in the studio version of the “Happy Planet Index” video, he’s got plenty of friends. With dozens of instruments to incorporate, the more the merrier. Seeing this colorful array (including harmonium, toy piano, davul, shaker, trombone, xylophone, and a tambourine on a cymbal), one can’t help but think of the precisely layered experiments of Origamibiro. What looks simple on the surface requires great coordination and a melodic ear. The second video of the song adds a sci-fi audio sample (not on the album) and footage from “Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women,” which ironically was also used in the recent film “It Follows.” In doing so, it competes directly, and favorably, with Public Service Broadcasting’s recent The Race for Space.
Götz has been doing this for quite a while, and has only now gotten around to releasing his debut album. He’s also active in a number of ensembles, including a big band. While the trombone is his instrument of choice, and responsible for much of the album’s distinctiveness, he’s clearly enamored of percussion, using everything from caxixi to seashells to mule’s teeth. Great joy in evident in the performances, as he sings along wordlessly, often humming, “doot-dooting” or incorporating the intake of breath (“Die Jährlichen Winde”).
Le Millipede‘s playfulness may be its primary selling point, but it’s also a dance album for the inner child. The toy snares of “Rote Laterne” are particularly cheerful, as are tribal drums of “Marmor” and the Casio tones of “Herbst.” But the standout track is found in the center of the album. From the very second it begins, “Kollege” stands out, like the most caffeinated child on the playground. The deep Carpenter-esque synth starts off strong, and never lets up, like a car chase on an open freeway. Creative dance floors, take note.
Le Millipede is one long smile. Listen and be cheered. (Richard Allen)