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De Phazz is so on point as "sophisticated jazz for modern hipsters" that it makes an ironic statement. They lampoon themselves by being so effortlessly and prolifically good at what they do. And what they do is make smart, funny, infinitely listenable music soaked with jazz horns, symphonic sonics, turntablism, spoken-word samples, bossa nova beats and sassy, yes sassy, vocals. Their lyrics are openly ironic, employing puns, hyperbole and entendre.
Every De Phazz CD contains the "facetious decree" song, wherein the female narrator lets her lover know the certain "status" of their uncertain relationship. "Our relationship is a key that fits no more, outside, as on both sides, of the door. Our relationship is like hunting in the zoo, deja vu," sings Pat Appleton in "Our Relationship" on Audio Elastique. Go back seven albums and over a dozen years earlier to 2001's Death By Chocolate, and you have the sly missive, "Something Special" where she sings,"If I would ever lose you, to someone else one day, I'll sure be diplomatic, just like Cassius Clay. Because you're so special, just like anybody else." Producer Pit Baumgarten has co-written dozens of these songs using the same formula and every single one is terrific in it's own right. In fact, Audio Elastique has two ironic love songs in the vein of Shakespeare's sonnet, "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun." The second is "Not Sally," in which Appleton proclaims, "My name is not Sally, and I am not cute. More than that you'll find me in a terrible mood. But just because I'm bad, doesn't mean that you're good."
Impressario Baumgarten is a Culture Vulture of the highest order. I believe "Not Sally" refers to the infamous zombie movie of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Oblong Box." A 1969 British production starring Christopher Lee & Vincent Price, the song homages the scene where the murderer visits a prostitution den and calls one of the women "Sally" after his estranged girlfriend. The slattern then reassures him, "I can be Sally if you want me to be." De-Phazz directly comments on this obsequious form of female seduction!
Audio Elastique resolutely continues the mix of humor and culture producer and writer Pit Baumgarten established with their first cd, 1997's Detunized Gravity. De Phazz delights in the silly and the sophisticated. Bounce to beat of "The Ball is My Friend" and "Dog Run," and chill to the jazz of instrumentals "Desir Au Maximum" and "Funk Desaster." De Phazz also unabashedly embraces its identity as a German jazz-funk group with the German-language song, "Manner Die Pokale Kussen" (Kissing the Trophy).
Literary aspirations and pop-culture referentiality aside, De Phazz's music soars and stays with you. Their mash-ups of genres, their collage of sounds, their sheer musicality is so assured, that even after 16 tracks, the listener doesn't want Audio Elastique to end. For fans of uber-sophisticated jazz vocalists and composers, of those tres hip jazz outfits Swing Out Sister from the United Kingdom, United Future Organization from Japan, Xploding Plastix from Norway, fellow Germans Mo' Horizons, and to a lesser extent, Supreme Beings Of Leisure from America, De Phazz is one of those rare bands whose every CD is a five-star affair.
Though their complete discography is a bit difficult to assemble due to several albums being out of print or available only as an expensive import, their cds of originals (excluding compilations, remixes or live albums) and (arguably) the song that best embodies the individual vibe of each, is as follows: Detunized Gravity, 1997 ("Cut the Jazz"); Godsdog, 1999 ("The Mambo Craze"); Death by Chocolate, 2001 ("Jim the Jinn"); Daily Lama, 2002 ("Things and Times"); Natural Fake, 2005 ("Astrud Astronette"); Days of Twang, 2007 ("Shadow of a Lie"): Lala 2.0 2010 ("Back From Where I Started"); and Audio Elastique, 2012 ("Waltzes and Tangos").