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CD Feature/ Sgnl_fltr: "exhalo"

img  Tobias
Imagine, if you will, the following situation: It’s been a hard day and you’ve finally draped yourself comfortably on the sofa after several hard but satisfying hours of, say, writing reviews for a WebZine. The remote to your stereo is within immediate reach and you’re lying there supine and tranquil, with your body woozily warming up thanks to a woolen blanket and a cup of strong Irish Coffee. Now you’re more relaxed and feel like listening to some music, would you be interested in putting on an album of Techno?

It may sound absurd (or outright ridiculous, in fact), but if it that album is “exhalo”, you just might. For the past six years, Danny Kreutzfeldt has been a pleasant omnipresence on many different scenes and regardless of the main focal point of his plentifold projects, his eclectic interests always shone through whether he was dabbling his feet in Ambient, Dub, Drones or Experimental Electronics. Even his more beat-oriented efforts were infused with a dizzying textural depth owing to his expertise in building vortex-like soundscapes. Almost by default, they were conceived as dreams of dancing rather than actual club fodder.

If the clanking, metallic echoes of his diverse solo releases under his civilian name could still be perceived as a corrosive alternative to the bland smoothness of trendy chill out bars, then the undaunting operations under the snl_fltr moniker finally burn the bridges to the physical world behind them completely. The attritional pounding of heavy, woodlog-like four to the floor kicks is slowed down to a soft and sleepy resting pulse rate, with bass drums not only providing for a mellow mantric metrum but also for intruigingly blurred resonant fields in the low registers. Supplementary elements such as Hihats and Snares suddenly start growing and morphing, like percussive alien protozoa, insistently pushing the music forward by stepless chromatic progressions.

With a bit of creative input from your side, you could still picture yourself moving your feet to one or two tracks on “exhalo” – gloriously grooving anthems like “mimoimo” and “pentar” are anything but tame and domesticated couch-potato fantasies – but the majority of the material plays with the fundamental elements of dance music in such an exagerated and vertiginously over-the-top fashion that the typical arousing energy-streams all but cancel each other out. Points in case are “korpo”, whose relentlessly pumping percussion, conveyer belt propulsion and myriads of rhythmic on- and offbeat effects are allayed by subcutaneous atmospheres and the hymnical goa madness of “chnni”, where Kreutzfeldt just piles layer upon layer, completely blurring the notion of individual recognisability.

On other occasions, there are are palpable influences of electro and electronica abound, while the organic structures of so-called Intelligent Dance Music have left their fingerprints on the Chitin-cased smackings of pieces like “moccle”. Even though the multitude of these obvious associations clearly labels them as important, merely engaging in stylistic cross-referencing does not seem the point here. Rather, “exhalo” is a work steeped in the best of psychedelic traditions: Taking objects from the world around us and twisting and deforming them until nothing is left but a bizarre mirror image whose grotesque grimace sardonically glances at us with a simultaneously familiar and terrifying smile.

This aim is, of course, best served when consciously appreciating the album as a journey from beginning to end, but it unfolds just as effectively when discreetly spinning it in the background. Intruigingly, the more one turns up the volume, the more the experience grows in serenity and immersive qualities – which is why, after initial scepticism, the connection with the Dutch Databloem imprint, specialising in metaphorical Ambient, makes perfect sense.

Regular room volume levels, meanwhile, are more than enough for the relaxing and astral side of “exhalo” to prominently manifest itself. And if this review should still not have convinced you, have some more of that Irish Coffee and put on this tantalisingly comforting techno record to see for yourself.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Danny Kreutzfeld/ snl_fltr
Homepage: Databloem Records

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