One of Germany's leading electronic dance music trailblazers for two decades, Roman Flügel remains very much capable of reinventing himself and surprising listeners with each new release. For one thing, he swaps artist monikers as often as he does musical styles: Roman IV, Eight Miles High, Soylent Green, and Ro 70 being just a few.
But whether he's exploring IDM, ambient, electro, or techno, one thing that remains constant in Flügel's production sound is his regard for melody, alongside the more dance-centric element of rhythm.
"I love tinny and sometimes naïve-sounding melodies," Flügel tells Crossfade. "That's probably the heritage of Kraftwerk in my music. Melody is certainly less important if it comes to real techno, but I always liked a good pop song, and that, combined with my skills as a club-music producer, explains why things happen like they do in my music."
Happiness Is Happening, Flügel's new album on Dial Records and the second LP released under his own name, has been praised in particular for the strength of its melodic compositions.
Of course, melody is never just purely melody in electronic music, where studio technology and the serendipitous creative process of coaxing noise from machines transcends the limits of traditional composition and conventional instrumentation.
"[Electronic music] is more a steady search for ideas in the studio rather than a classic composition process," says Flügel. "You decide when the music stops, since you're working with computers and sequencers. Instead of writing the music, you're able to record anything as soon you feel comfortable. It's basically a constant exchange between you and your recording software.
"The new album is more electronic," he explains. "I hardly used any preset sounds or samples during the production. Instead, I worked a lot on creating my own little world by using every kind of gear that makes noise in my studio, whether it's analog synths from the '70s or some state-of-the-art plug-in."
"The idea was to produce an electronic music album that doesn't have to function in the average surrounding of contemporary mainstream dance music," Flügel adds. "I wanted to produce something that feels like it has fallen out of time and isn't necessarily connected to a certain scene, tradition, or trend."
The marriage of music and technology central to Roman Flügel's work certainly makes this artist a choice guest for Miami's III Points, a festival celebrating the confluence of art, music, and technology.
Catch Roman Flügel at the Electric Pickle's official III Points afterparty on Saturday, alongside South London Ordnance.
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Roman Flügel and South London Ordnance. As part of the III Points Official Afterparty. Presented by SAFE. Saturday, October 11. Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. Call 305-456-5613, or visit electricpicklemiami.com.