Tributee: Donna Regina.
Liner Note Author: Donna Regina.
Recording information: Loathsome Reels (11/2014); Studio Du Comminges (11/2014).
Günther and Regina Janssen began releasing albums as Donna Regina in 1992; their style of sweet, gentle synth-pop would prefigure much of the indie electronic music which would surface a decade later, and they would be a natural fit on the Karaoke Kalk label, their home since 1999. Thirteen full-lengths, two compilations, and several singles and EPs after the duo's debut, Karaoke Kalk issued Dis Cover: Donna Regina as Recorded By, featuring a baker's dozen of their songs interpreted by artists like Bertrand Burgalat, Dani Siciliano, and Dean & Britta. Donna Regina's pleasant, uncomplicated tunes have a timeless quality that make them easy to cover, and several artists offer fairly straightforward, enjoyable takes on the songs. Unsurprisingly, the cuts that stray furthest from the originals are by quirky German experimental electronic artists Schlammpeitziger, Console, and Mouse on Mars, who play around with twisted, electronically mangled voices and (in MoM's case) dubby, dislocated beats. A few of the album's tracks, such as the National Jazz Trio of Scotland's "End of September" and Astrobal & Tom Terrien's "Les Claviers de Colours," sound as if they could just have easily appeared on a Saint Etienne tribute disc. The album's most affecting moment is "How Beautiful" (covered here by Chica and the Folder), a wistful, pulsating electro-ballad which begins with the narrator feeling lost in space as her lover is gone, but then she realizes it's just a dream and she's not alone. ~ Paul Simpson