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Austrian producer Waldeck makes lush, sensuous electronic music that ranges from cinematic downtempo to lively, club-friendly jazz. First known for producing moody trip-hop and ambient dub, he made his full-length debut with 1998's Balance of the Force. With 2007's Ballroom Stories, he switched up his sound to incorporate live instrumentation and jazzy vocals, helping give rise to the electro swing movement. 2016's Gran Paradiso mixed Spaghetti Western and tango influences, while 2020's Grand Casino Hotel was an ambitious effort touching on various aspects of the Waldeck sound. He formed the jazz group Waldeck Sextet, and their full-length debut, Kind of Blues, appeared in 2022. Klaus Waldeck was born and raised in Vienna, and studied piano as a child. He later went to law school and became a copyright lawyer. After hearing about the copyright infringement suit over George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord," he got the idea of creating music by altering the melodies of existing songs until they became new compositions. He moved to London and released his first single, "A Sheep Attacks Dr John," on techno label Choci's Chewns in 1993. He produced a few other house tracks, but switched to downtempo with his first release as simply Waldeck, 1996's Kruder & Dorfmeister-produced Northern Lights EP. Released by Spray Records, its lead single was "Aquarius," a trip-hop cover of "Age of Aquarius" from the musical Hair, sung by onetime Incognito vocalist Joy Malcolm. His 1998 full-length debut, Balance of the Force, featured Malcolm as well as additional vocalist Brian Amos, and was soon followed by Balance of the Force (Remixed). The 2000 EP This Isn't Maybe, the first release on Waldeck's Dope Noir imprint, added more of a jazz influence to Waldeck's style of downtempo and chilled-out house (the title track was built around excerpts of the Chet Baker recording of the same name). The Night Garden, an intoxicating mix of trip-hop and dub that additionally included a King Crimson cover, appeared in 2001, and The Night Garden Reflowered followed in 2002. Waldeck and singer Valérie Sajdik formed the bossa nova-influenced lounge group Saint Privat in 2002, releasing their debut album, Riviera, in 2004, with Superflu (featuring a cover of Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love") appearing in 2006. Waldeck returned in 2007 with Ballroom Stories, a significantly more upbeat album introducing vocalist Zeebee. While still retaining the project's dub and trip-hop influences, the live instrumentation and classy vocals resulted in more of a jazz-influenced retro sound, and the album became an influence on the electro swing movement that was growing at the time. Waldeck produced Zeebee's 2010 album Be My Sailor, but he didn't release any music of his own until the EP The Weatherman surfaced in 2015. Gran Paradiso, Waldeck's 2016 full-length, mixed elements of reggae, tango, mariachi, and Spaghetti Western soundtracks, among other influences. Most of its songs were sung by La Heidi Moussa-Benammar. Atlantic Ballroom appeared in 2018, with Malcolm returning in addition to several tracks featuring Patrizia Ferrara. Ferrara also became the vocalist of Waldeck Sextet, who debuted with It Might Be French EP in 2020. Waldeck's full-length Grand Casino Hotel appeared simultaneously, blending lounge, electro swing, and disco. Waldeck and Saint Privat released a series of 20 Years Dope Noir LPs in 2021, containing reworks, collaborations, live tracks, and other material. Waldeck Sextet released their first LP, Kind of Blues, in 2022.
© Paul Simpson /TiVo
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