Friday, April 27, 2007

Digitalull: Your Weekly Electronic Fix

The German Connection


Efdemin, aka Phillip Sollmann is yet another techno artist from Germany, joining the ranks of fellow compatriots Ellen Allien and Superpitcher amongst a long list of respected producers. His self-titled debut for Dial records is another excellent addition to the growing number of albums credited as minimal techno. Luckily, the album explores other styles of the electronic knit, such as house and straight techno. "Knocking At The Grand" and "Loh & Brot" are two standout tracks from the album.

“Knocking At The Grand” introduces itself with percussive bells. Here, Efdemin creates the sort of dark, haunting textures similar to Plastikman. The usual swift hi-hats come in to play over a circular sub-bassline. As with most microhouse, the space in between is the most intriguing part. The track spends most of its time playing with fleeting sounds that poke in and out of the mix, never staying long enough to form any sort of relationship. With a sparse sonic collage and slippery basseline, “Knocking At The Grand” feels like the shadowy death-dance for the final rave.

Download >>Knocking At The Grand

“Loh & Brot” is based on the more conventional structures of house music, with its bassline offset from the downbeat. Click-clack percussion is interspersed throughout choppy, processed synths and filtered organ chords. The second half of the song gives way to a synth reminiscent of an old science documentary, effectively climaxing without making too much fuss. Eventually, the synth turns into an ominous wash of sound, lingering aimlessly like a gray cloud shadowing the landscape.

Download >>Loh & Brot


Pole is not one of your typical techno producers. In fact, it’s safe to say he’s not really techno at all. Named after his favorite piece of studio equipment (Waldorf 4 Pole-Filter), Pole is the moniker of Stefan Betke. Some would categorize him as “post-techno,” but since techno hasn’t disappeared, I’m hesitant to use such labels. While his past albums have varied from dub influenced to house, rhythm has always been the most important factor. Betke’s latest release, Steingarten can be easily separated from the slew of techno/house albums from Germany’s electronic scene. Neither Pole, nor the album is easily categorized.

“Warum,” the album opener for Steingarten is built on a deceptively simple, loose groove. The bass sounds even deeper than an 808, if that’s even possible. The industrial sound of drills and pipes are layered throughout the track, adding a sort of “found sound” style approach to programming. As loose as the track may sound upon initial listen, everything pretty much adheres to a strict rhythmic phrasing. The handclaps are loose and scattered, but all within a tight frame. “Warum” sounds fairly linear at first, but its intricacies manage to reveal themselves after repeated listens.

Download >>Warum

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