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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Radio Citizen

By Robert Kaye
Published March 30, 2007

Berlin Serengeti
Ubiquity Recordings

Radio Citizen is the moniker of Berliner Niko Schabel. On this, his debut album, he mixes up crock pot-heated grooves with a smorgasbord of textures and sounds. It’s a trippy excursion, with urban rhythms and retro sounds abounding. Schabel thrives on creating gyrating soundscapes, tossing various elements together and infusing them at times with 1960s-esque poetry, boogaloo beats and instrumentation. Distorted Hammond B3 organs, boomy double basses, rough-hewn sounding drums, street-recorded ramblings, and more are all mixed in. Schabel is a producer with uncanny skill at creating aural illusions: some of the studio-sounding tracks are mostly live recordings, while what sounds like an in-concert piece may be entirely cut & pasted digitally. Like other mostly electronic albums, most songs are dance-oriented rather than exploring musical themes and variations. Still, this is far more imaginative material than what’s heard on most urban American radio stations these days.