Guggenz releases new album “Cruise Control”

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Mike Guggenbuehl, better known online as “Guggenz,” released a new album titled “Cruise Control” Wednesday.

The prolific producer currently residing in Minneapolis put out his 6th album, which showcases his growth and evolution in production skills over the years.

Guggenbuehl started learning music production from an initial desire to record himself playing the guitar. From there, he fell in love with the process of creating music, starting out making hip hop beats that his friends rapped over, before he started venturing into the real of more electronic production.

“I feel like I’ve found my own sound at this point,” he said. “It’s super immersive and a ton of fun to just create.”

He draws inspiration from similar artists such as Flamingosis, Birocratic, and Vanilla.

You might notice that his music doesn’t really contain drops or heavy bass. That’s actually an intentional decision on Guggenbuehl’s part to deviate from how most music today tends to sound.

Instead, he describes his production as mood music for the beach, or a sunny day.

The 14-track record titled “Cruise Control” follows a connected narrative; each song is distinct, yet flows in a way that grows, peaks and subsides throughout the album.

It all starts with “Don’t Let Me Go,” an irresistible, upbeat melody that can’t help but catch your attention with its Japanese funk, radio-esque influence, reminiscent of Engelwood.

Next, “No Laws” falls somewhere between the electro-funk style of GRiZ and the retro, melodic sounds of Flamingosis, with a tint of tropical-ness.

Chill and Grill” is probably my favorite track on the entire album, incorporating Japanese language and playful horn notes, while the following track “Feeling Blue” takes on more of an introspective vibe that’s ideal for a solo walk.

As soon as I heard “Maybe Tonight,” it instantly reminded me of vaporwave producer MACROSS 82-99, who ties in electropop sounds with a Japanese influence. The tone of the track is a bit more hopeful and dreamy, with the muted Japanese lyrics blending perfectly against the funky, warped jazz notes.

Hidden Temple” is a bit random in the context of the album, yet it works. The ambience of the song is a cross between a disco and an Indiana Jones adventure, inspired by the name.

Guggenz’ seventh track, “Jacuzzi,” sounds just like its title. It’s an intimate, bubbly, lush song that makes you want to relax and enjoy its rippling vibrations.

Evoking an 80’s-centric celebration, the track “By Your Side” is happy and optimistic, while the next song “Underwater” ties together a slight punk vibe with warped, dampened notes. Meanwhile,”Sunshine” is simple, reminiscent of a warm day at the beach. 

In his 11th track “That’s Life,” Guggenz draws inspiration from Gramatik with a carefree song that plays around with mixing, repetition and some energetic horn notes.

Thinking Back” makes you want to lay back and look back on fond memories from your past, with its old-school, cassette player-esque style adding a twinge of nostalgia to the song.

Next, Guggenz offers up “All You Need,” a dreamy and abstract song, featuring a soft and sultry melody, dragging piano notes, and vocals crooning “I wanna be your man” over and over again.

Finally, the album winds down with “Last Time,” devolving into a memorable guitar solo towards the end.

In his live sets, Guggenz brings a drummer onstage to add an additional live element on top of his beat-mixing.

If you happen to live around the Denver area, catch him performing with Opiuo and KOAN Sound on Friday, November 8 at the Mission Ballroom!

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