The solo debut of Wolfsheim founder Markus Reinhardt, Waking Up In a Different World is an aptly titled break from the confines of the synthpop trappings of his former project. As if to further stretch his creative wings, Renard also features a slew of guest vocalists to allow for a greater play in styles and moods. This variety allows Reinhardt’s writing skills to truly shine as he keenly adapts his style to best complement his vocalists, but with this variety, the album can occasionally feel a bit like a compilation despite it still being surprisingly cohesive. Urban/folk singer Joseh’s contributions in “Meissen Figurine” and “Junkyards” gives those tracks a very Moby-like sound with their poppy electronic compositions and soulful vocals. Meanwhile “Restless” with vocalist Marietta Fafouti takes on a much jazzier rhythm as it ebbs and flows like a bombastic lounge act. This doesn’t mean that shades of Wolfsheim don’t occasionally shine through, but generally, Renard does not rely as heavily on synthpop beats and hooks as Reinhardt’s previous work. Bearing the more straightforward synthpop structure along with Pascal Finkenauer’s vocal timbre closely resembling Wolfsheim vocalist Peter Heppner, “Travel In Time” is sure to satisfy the longtime fans looking for that familiar sound. Apart from this one track though, listeners purely hoping for just “more Wolfsheim” may come away from Waking Up In a Different World mildly disappointed. The DNA of Wolfsheim is absolutely present in Renard’s work, but the album is ultimately more a triumph of reinvention and exploration as Reinhardt breaks free of the shackles of his old world and embraces this new beginning rather than just wallowing in his past.