Germans seem to have a natural affinity for making cars, techno, and beer, but not hip-hop. One rare instance was Funkstörung's glitchy remix of Wu-Tang Clan's "Reunited." Now after that 1999 breakthrough, followed by an uneven career of noisy electronic experiments, the German duo -- Chris De Luca and Michael Fakesch -- are releasing their second proper album, Disconnected. It's overflowing with rappers, beat-boxers, and neosoul crooners in search of a "glitch-hop" bandwagon that came and went with few in the pop world noticing.

Most electronic music producers trying to cross over into rap territory are so far behind their better-known pacesetters -- the Neptunes, OutKast, Timbaland, if you have to ask -- that even halfway decent albums like Disconnected sound outdated. It doesn't help that Def Jux and Lex have had a lock on left-field hip-hop for a good year now. The album's saving grace comes when Funkstörung collaborates with Rob Sonic ("Mr. Important") and Lex second-stringer Tes ("Chopping Heads," "Fat Camp Feva"). But even that pales in comparison to similar material by Jay Dee and Prefuse 73. As it stands, the most significant German contribution to hip-hop remains Afrika Bambaataa's reworking of Kraftwerk's "Trans-Europe Express" into "Planet Rock."

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Daniel Chamberlin