Austria is known for a lot of things - opera, chocolate, the waltz - but acid jazz isn't one of them. In fact, acid jazz - with its sinewy bass lines, cool grooves and warm sensuality - is the opposite of the country's pristine stereotype.
But Kruder & Dorfmeister - the highly respected DJ/producer/remix team - might be single-handedly changing perceptions, at least among the dancefloor underground. Peter Kruder, 28, and Richard Dorfmeister, 27, have worked with or done remixes for the likes of William Orbit, United Future Organization, Bone Thugs & Harmony, and Bomb the Bass, among others. As is the case with England's celebrated sound squad Massive Attack, an artist who gets K&D to work with them gets an extra imprimatur of cool.
In addition, they've set up their own label, G-Stone (short for grindstone), and recently released an EP CD in the United States, through the new Island-distributed Quango imprint, called G-Stoned.
Luxuriant, laid-back and mellow, the four-track G-Stoned - in songs such as Definition and Original Bedroom Rockers - isn't as upfront as some other acid jazz, say, Jazzmatazz. Its languid feel, embellished with hints of African, South American and ambient textures, has more of a nocturnal elegance.
Yet if Kruder & Dorfmeister are from Austria they're not of Austria, according to Kruder. Here in Austria, things are more dictated by techno and house, he said by phone from Vienna. Germany is really near, and that's the influence that's coming from Germany. The work we do here is very underground and has a small following.
Kruder can't really explain why he and Dorfmeister went in a different direction from so many of their countrymen. We're deeply into the electronic sound, but in a different context, not as cold, he said. Techno doesn't have to be cold, but most of it is, unfortunately.
The two hooked up in the early '90s. Kruder was in a hip-hop group, the Moreaus, and Dorfmeister was in another group, Sin. But they figured they could have more freedom by doing what they wanted together and setting up studios (G-stone 1+2) in their homes.
Citing influences by everyone from Brazilian jazz heroes Airto and Edu Lobo to soundscape artists Brian Eno and Bill Laswell, the two became known for mixing up all sorts of musical elements. Both play instruments, sample, mix, and trade ideas and DAT tapes back and forth. (And yes, the cover of G-Stoned is a takeoff on a famous photo of Simon & Garfunkel.)
They're working on a full-length album for American release (We've been working on it for the last two years) and - unlike many of their studio-bound contemporaries in this style - plan to play live. If you have proper musicians, you can work it out, Kruder said. I saw Goldie and was really disappointed. It's really boring to see three keyboards and a singer; you don't know if it's tape or if they're playing.
Despite their feeling adrift from much of the Austrian scene, don't expect the twosome to pack up and move to London or New York soon. Isolation is much better, Kruder reasoned. In London, there's something new every day. People are saying, `This is the best stuff.' It's kind of confusing, to be honest. I'd rather be here. You're on your own, basically.