Now, it’s official: Alex Barck is back in his home town Berlin. For a whole year he lived together with his family on the small, remote island La Reunion in the Indian Ocean. To recover from his turbulent life as a DJ, as member of Jazzanova, as A&R manager of Sonar Kolletiv, as one half of Prommer & Barck and as a busy record digger? Far from it! Now with his debut solo album in the luggage he returns back to the party capital of the world.
The island, the ocean, the African influences, the detachment from the hectic club scene must have done Barck especially good. “Reunion“ is a mature club album with harsh pop appeal, lots of soul, a deepness as abyssal as the Sunda Trench and a very unique, characteristic thumbprint.
For nine of the total of twelve album tracks Barck invited guests over the ocean. No less than three songs feature the Swedish voice extraordinaire of Jonatan “Ernesto” Bäckelie. “We Get High” and “Don’t Hold Back” came already out on two of the three pre-release 12inches. With “Doubter” the LP has its dignified opener which sets one in the right mood for what kinda brilliant songs, club anthems and infinitely optimistic pop Barck has in store. Pete Josef from Bristol (one half of The White Lamp) is another voice like tailor-made for Barck’s productions. That’s why it’s almost a bit of a bummer that we get only two of these fruitful collaborations (the club monster “Re-set” and the boogie-esque “Spinning Around”). However the pleasure is much bigger to hear the La Reunion native Christine Salem on “Oh Africa” and that the old companion, Stee Downes breathes life and soul into the bass-heavy “Like A Drug”. Another artists of the Sonar Kollektiv roster presents himself on “Why & How” in a surprisingly new way. FETSUM elevates the already super euphoric song into staggering heights. You suddenly feel like you’re at a high-spirited beach party at peak time. Without degrading the brilliancy of all the other titles, one almost has to say that “Atmosphere” is probably the best track Barck has ever produced during his adventerous career. A masterstroke of club music with a bass line you will feel almost for days in you guts. With “Move Slowly” Barck (together with singer Bea Anubis) throttles the tempo slightly and reminds us in patches of his teamwork with Christian Prommer on “Alex And The Grizzly”. The thundering final blow comes with “Reunion” and is so enchanting that you start to think about spending yourself a year on a little island somewhere in the far Indian Ocean.
In short, this is an album full of songs that have slumbring within Alex Barck for an eternity. But they all needed the time to mature and are now laying in all their full glory and matchingly in front of us. All of them children of the reunion. Also in a musical sense.