Dieter Meier: Out Of Chaos GER LP/CD 
- Lazy Night
- Paradise Game
- Busy Going Nowhere
- Night Porter
- The Ritual
- Another Day
- Fat Fly
I returned home from a trip last week to find that the long-awaited Dieter Meier album was waiting for me to pick it up at the Post Office. After unloading the car, I wasted no time in popping down there to grab that bad boy. As I suspected, the album is closer to what I have wanted from Yello in the last 20 years, but have largely missed. In Yello’s grab for dance music credibility, they lost me as a listener – not unlike Kraftwerk. At a certain point, a line was crossed, and it became about beats and BPM instead of the reason why I enjoyed Yello to start with; the unique persona and artistry of Dieter Meier.
The vibe here is not unlike that which can be found on Yello albums ranging from “Claro Que Si” through “Baby.” The songs are not alien to the Meier canon; coming off as he often does, like the Frank Sinatra of Dada. There are suave, noir narratives, where romantically fixated men lament their obsessions. There are character studies of marginal, but unique individuals. And then there are absurdist flights of fancy.
The most gratifying thing about all of this, is that 90% of it is far removed from the sound of Yello. While synths and electronics are employed on almost all of these tracks, they take a back seat to the zesty, jazz noir arrangements by the large band with string section. Latin rhythms are no stranger to Meier’s work, but the rhumbas played here attain a dark, eccentric sound not far from mature Tom Waits!
There is only one song here that could “pass for Yello;” the relentless “Jimmy.” And even it is better than most late period Yello I’m familiar with. The rest successfully meander all over the musical highway. “Night Porter” sports a whimsical rhythm ace waltz beat as Meier paints a portrait that is the furthest thing from the dark obsession of the similarly titled Japan track. Meier plays omnichord here while the only other accompaniment is the Farsisa and piano of producer Nackt [Apparat]. Patricia Peters of Warren Suicide is one of two female voice here on this track. Elsewhere, choreographer Meritxell Campos Olivé appears as the heartless erotic focus of the penultimate “Annabelle.”
It’s gratifying to hear this album with its dozen songs over 43 minutes. Than means that none of these tracks flirt with dance excess, and therefore none of them manage to overstay their welcome. These are tightly composed and well arranged songs that manage to leave the listener wanting more, and at the end of the day, I’ll be first in line for the next Dieter Meier solo album. Quite frankly, if he never makes another album with Boris Blank again, I won’t mind since he’s in his element here with generous support from musicians of a very different mindset.
There’s a casting off of Yello’s stylistic shackles here that was most refreshing. This was the most enjoyable album Meier’s released since the glory days of “Stella.” It’s important to recall that drummer Beat Ash [who was missing in action following “Baby” up to their last “Touch Yello”] and guitarist Chico Hablas [m.i.a. following “Zebra”] once added their human touch to the Yello soundscapes, but the albums I’ve passed up are largely bereft of their artistry. The band Mr. Meier has assembled here have an abundance of talent to offer, and the production of Nackt reveals an abundance of taste. It’s delightful to have Meier at center stage to do what he does best again.
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