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CD Feature/ Pneumatic Detach: "[Re-Vis-Cer-A]"

img  Tobias

Hive Records have not only been a great source of music from the verge of the underground – through their artists, they are gradually shifting the paradigms of the Breakcore/IDM genre. While Austrian Herwig Holzmann of Photophob is blurring the border between nature and technology, Pneumatic Detach’s Justin Brink has set his mind on proving that bestial brutality and beauty do not mutually exclude each other. Not necessarily an innovator (even though there are in fact a couple of arguments in favor of that), but definitely an inspirational icon, the latter has well deserved “re-vis-cer-a”, a statement of respect from his label and fourteen artists contributing exclusive remixes. The question remains, however, whether it does him any justice.

“vis-cer-a”, Brink’s last full-length effort, was many critics’ favourite album of 2005 in its respective niche. Of course, its relentless aural onslaught was both close enough to comparable releases from the scene to not be counted as a leftfield experimental release and danceable to a degree that DJs would still spin it. But the two things which really made it stand out from the pack were the dedicated attention spent on detailing the rhythmical spine of the tracks and the fact that it managed to simultaneously sound atmospheric and angry in an unprecedented way. It was as cold and mechanical as a record could be, but its human factor consisted in its inventive persistance – no machine could ever be this minute. Compared to the unique digital world, “re-vis-cer-a” is definitely a step back in time. Subsonic one-note bass lines break through walls of technoid percussion chains and distorted speach samples in delay, as melodies made up of sonic scrap and propulsive explosions cluster the air and cathedral Kick Drums race it out with drill-instructor HiHats. Even some of the popular loops from the golden era of drum n bass (circa 1996) make their appearance, albeit in a tortured and over-the-top form. Apart from a short break in the middle in order to catch some breath, the tempo remains dangerously close to the speed limit throughout - the subtlety and dense ambient layers of Pneumatic Detach have been replaced by a direct and up-front instant reward policy. Is that a bad thing? Not at all. While the original versions require concentrated listening for full enjoyment, the elastic bass groove of Verse taking on “Soma”, the shredded headbang frenzy of Censor’s treatment of “Embers” as well as the militaristic drum dollop of Autoclav 1.1’s “Slow Burn” remix are contageously catchy and infernally infectous.

While great attention has been spent on making this a continous journey, it may be just a bit hard sitting “re vis cer a “ through in one go. The same could be said about its predecessor, however, which put the body in an equally tense state of stress. Sure, this disc takes Pneumatic Detach back to the dirty clubs, to the endless nights of partying and going wild, to those moments you’d wish for the beat to never stop. That may not be a shift in paradigms this time around. But it certainly is a lot of fun.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Pneumatic Detach
Homepage: Hive Records

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