Like Kruder & Dorfmeister, Sofa Surfers are from Vienna, Austria. The European vibe can be felt in `Transit's every track, whether it's the accent of the sporadic mc, like on `Walking Ghosts', or the continuous down-tempo grooves, subtle and classy and rare in the US (Sasha & Digweed come close, as well as Aphex Twin, at his least aggressive and most lyrical). Despite evident comparisons, Sofa Surfers are smart enough to, while sustaining the K&D element, stray away from it and delve into their own harmonious `testings'. On `Transit' it works to a certain degree - the band's skill is palpable, but they lack focus, consistence and confidence. Which is forgivable. They were newcomers, after all.
It is the kind of album that would appeal to jazz-lovers, electronic geeks, stoners and those who strive for musical variety. THAT `Transit' has a barrel-full of, yet, while appealing, it sounds unfinished, or inadequately assembled. Take the opening track, `Bon Voyage', the album's highlight. Slow and methodical at the start, it astonishes with an abrupt tirade of precise drum-n-bass that is unexpectedly bracing. The problem is, the next three tracks after that make the listener long for the `bombshell' that `Bon Voyage' had hidden for them - unfortunately, they don't.
Which is not to say they're not dexterously produced. A little bit of saxophone; a fragment of African drums; rich, dexterous layers of understated beats over stretched uncanny melodies generate positive reception, predominantly on `Monoscopolis', `Tse Tse Fly' (which has otherworldly vocals over a plausibly dawdling drumming hum) and `Lada Taiga'.
K&D create definitive chill-out albums. They accentuate the fine power of music to express more than words ever can. Their devious, velvety rhythms have already propelled them to stardom - their sound is recognizable, it's distinct. Sofa Surfer`s "Transit' is NOT distinct, yet introduces a skillful new promising band to the European world of refined down-tempo grooves.
PS Check out their better, 2d album `Cargo', and their masterwork, `Encounters'.
GET this if you like: Red Snapper, Plaid, Tosca, K&D, Four Tet, DJ Krush