Alter Ego ‎– Alter Ego

Harthouse ‎– HH-CD-006
CD, Album


1 Soulfree 11:55
2 Atomic Playground 7:13
3 Sentimental Books 4:52
4 Nude Restaurant 12:57
5 Chinese Eyes 9:48
6 Tanks Ahead 9:05
7 Undersea Girl 6:50

Companies, etc.



Written, produced and arranged at Klangfabrik.
Published by Moonquake/Musikedition Discoton.

Vocal samples on "Sentimental Books" and "Nude Restaurant" are taken from the track "Untitled" by The Velvet Underground, a recorded conversation between Lou Reed, Nico (3) and John Cale.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode: 4 005902 628525
  • Matrix / Runout: HH CD 006 WME
  • Mastering SID Code: none
  • Mould SID Code: none

Other Versions (2 of 2) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
HH 1008-2, HH1008-2 Alter Ego Alter Ego(CD, Album) Harthouse America, Harthouse America HH 1008-2, HH1008-2 US 1995 Sell This Version
HH LP 6 Alter Ego Alter Ego(2xLP, Album) Harthouse HH LP 6 Germany 1994 Sell This Version



Add Review



March 4, 2010
At the time of releasing their debut album as Alter Ego, Jörn Elling Wuttke and Roman Flügel have already released the remarkable Acid Jesus album, were about to come out with The Primitive Painter album and were in the process of recording and releasing the landmark "Welcome insel" record as Sensorama. Four albums under four different monikers in an approximately two year time span seems like a larger bite than one could handle, but surprisingly, none of the albums I've mentioned suffer in the quality department, "Alter ego" included.
While I have never been that much of a loyal fan of this duo, credit must be do when listening to this album. It is all downtempo stuff, with floating and captivating melodies, absorbing and subtle snippets of acid synths, while the tempo of the beats never really reaches the heights necessary to attack dance floors. Which is not a bad thing per se. Alter Ego have a way of producing really dreamy and placating music, which doesn't follow any conventional ambient formulas (long beatless patterns, passages of drone, etc.), but rather uses structural patterns and ideas applied through a lot of releases on Harthouse and Eye-Q at the time, though they slow the speed down for a few notches. Think some of the more laid back tunes on Sven Vath's sophmore album. That said, it might then seem strange that my favorite track on the album is a 100% beatless ambient tune, the closing number, Undersea Girl. Really atmospheric, with lush pads and a really celestial, heavenly touch to it. I love it. And it reminds me of those beloved ambient pieces you could keep on repeat for two hours in a row and feel like you were listening to one symphony!
The rest of the album, while unquestionably good, doesn't really speak to me. It follows the same formula, with minor deviations, and if you are a listener who usually aims more for the harder sounds of the techno spectrum, like I am, then "Alter ego" might eventually start to bore you. But seriously now, that should be strictly a matter of personal preferences, and like stated before, since I was never a die hard fan, this album lacks the edge and punch I found on their albums recorded as The Primitive Painter and especially Acid Jesus.
However, I urge everybody from fans of the earlier Warp sound, through to early trance addicts and lovers of stuff like Barbarella, Stevie B Zet, Aural Float or even some of Oliver Lieb's earlier projects to give this one a listen. It really has some competent melody work, with plenty cool sounds used throughout to avoid the trap of boredom and repetitiveness many downtempo releases fall into, the acid is never over the top, yet carefully sculptured so it never kills the other elements, plus the overall tone and mood of the album is pretty laid back, with a spaced out mood. My final verdict would be listening to the track Nude Restaurant first, which, in my humble opinion somehow best exemplifies what the album is all about. The way I see it, if you like that one, odds are you will like th rest of the album as well. Even though Undersea Girl is my pick of the bnch, it is an exception here, and the only track which has little to nothing in common with the rest here.
Essential for mid nineties trance fans, even more compulsory for those who thought Alter Ego could only churn out electro hits like Rocker. Listening to this will make you double question your ear sight, and leave you wondering how is it possible that the same two guys who recorded this ended up crossing over and topping world wide dance charts. Good album, no doubt, though I personally wouldn't recommend starting here, checking out Acid Jesus and The Supreme Painter first would be my warm advice.