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Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister
By Holly Day
(more articles from this author)
1999-03-25
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Viennese mix duo K&D have quickly gone from relative obscurity to international fame since their appearance in 1993. Their telltale dreamy, borderline-spooky acid-jazz dub mixes have been used virtually everywhere, from international dub compilations to background music for National Public Radio's feature news program, "All Things Considered." The range of their work is about as diverse as you can get--they've remixed songs from Gregory Isaac's jazz classic "Night Nurse" to the Knowtoryus hit "The Revenge Of The Bomberclad Joint" to come up with tracks that are uniquely theirs.

Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister first hooked up in the early '90s, when Kruder was in the hip-hop group The Moreaus and Dorfmeister was in a similar group called Sin. They soon set up studios (G-stone 1+2, short for "Grindstone") in their own homes to explore other musical possibilities outside of standard dance music. Citing influences by everyone from Brazilian jazz heroes Airto and Edu Lobo to soundscape artists Brian Eno and Bill Laswell, the two became known in the dance circuit for their unconventional mixing of all sorts of musical elements. Both play instruments, sample, mix, and trade ideas and DAT tapes back and forth, reworking pieces until they're either too frustrated or exhausted to continue or are both completely satisfied with the results.

With their sinewy bass lines, cool grooves and warm sensuality, the DJ duo may be single-handedly changing perceptions of what is allowed on the dancefloor and the definition of house music itself. K&D have worked with or done remixes for the likes of William Orbit, United Future Organization, Bone Thugs & Harmony, and are scheduled to work on Madonna's next EP ("Nothing Really Matters"). They were also chosen to perform before world delegates when the seat of the European Union moved to Vienna in 1998.

After years of carrying their exclusive dubplates of hedonistic loungecore from Vienna to London and the American west coast to Germany and back again, K & D's first album, Sessions, has finally been released to American audiences on German/U.S. label STUD!O K7 and is sliding into the number 1 slot in dance charts nationwide. It took nearly two years for the album to come together--unlike many of their studio-bound contemporaries, K&D prefer to play to live audiences and use the studio for composition purposes only.

At a time when the beat began to emancipate itself from the MC and every head was turned to the UK's breakbeat scene, K&D's single 4-track EP G-Stoned came out of nowhere, featuring the hypnotic beauty of "High Noon" and bearing a cover strongly reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bookends." Luxuriant, laid-back and mellow, G-Stoned wasn't as upfront and aggressive as most acid jazz. Its languid feel, embellished with hints of African, South American and ambient textures, was more elegant than, say, Jazzmatazz. The impact was massive, and the K&D phenomenon gained momentum as they gathered support from Giles Peterson, Wall of Sound's Mark Jones, and William Orbit. Richard's spin-off project, Tosca, began to take shape, and Kruder and Dorfmeister together remixed Bomb the Bass' "Bug Powder Dust." "We still like to open our shows with the Bomb the Bass mix," confesses Dorfmeister. "It's one of our oldest mixes, and still one of our favorites to play.

"Since we don't play only one style, we try to get good stuff out of every genre, every kind-from house drum-based stuff to electronic, and combine everything-we really try to work in everything we ourselves like. Normally, certain DJs are known for playing either house or ambient or whatever-we try to be really free with ourselves. We normally pick up most of our music here in Vienna, but since we've been going around on tour so much lately, we've been able to pick up stuff around the world. We usually have to seek out large chain record stores wherever we go just because we aren't in one place long enough to seek out the tiny record stores. We get a lot of promo stuff to consider, too, but you can't rely on getting something you can actually use that way on a regular basis."

In step with the emergence of the trip-hop scene into the mainstream's eye, several independent film companies are chronicling the duo's tour through the US, particularly their time in Las Vegas. But as far as acting himself goes, Dorfmeister has reservations. "I could see myself acting someday, maybe, but just a tiny role. We're not into being big rock stars or anything, so I don't think we'd make very good film stars. I'd rather write a sound track for a film, or be the cool guy sitting on the couch in a big party scene that doesn't actually say or do anything, like the way Hitchcock used to appear in his movies. Or maybe just have one of our CDs sitting out in the open during a scene, like on a tabletop or something."

"So what do you like to do when no one else is watching?" I ask, bringing the interview to a close. K&D have been touring almost nonstop for the past year, and it's obvious from his voice that the less time the man has to spend on the phone, the better.

He laughs. "Someone is always watching us," he says, sounding very serious for a moment. "We are all being watched, all the time."


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