De-Phazz is a revolving cast of singers and performers around German jazz/electronica producer Pit Baumgartner. For more than 10 years, De-Phazz has released an interesting and unique blend of jazz, German cabaret music, electronica, hip hop, reggae/dancehall and r’n’b. Baumgartner changes his lineup between albums, and there are very few singers who stay for more than a record or two. The music is sung mostly in English, but there are songs in German and French, too. Everything has a delightfully old-school, continental European touch: a 40s-style cabaret tune here, a 50s Brazilian-inflected German Schlager there.
But there’s also some seriously funky, and not-German-at-all soul here: a track like ‘True North’ shows off Baumgartner’s production chops – chops that could grace any contemporary ‘big’ r’n’b artist’s album. The path he chooses, though, is quirkier than that. And it’s a very likable quirkiness, one I find myself returning to time and again. The sound is cultured and aware of the world’s musics in a way that British or American electronica isn’t. And that makes this first-grade pop music that doesn’t become dated.