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Net Decks 12

img  Tobias

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reviews

It is Sunday today. I have slept in, showered, had my morning cup of black coffee and a buttered croissant – the only thing missing for perfect bliss is a visit to the site of the deep in dub label for a dose of dreamy echoes. Currently on the frontpage is De-Fat's „Carambolage“ EP, yet another set of three tracks around the seven minute mark, as mellow as marshmellows and as deep as your girlfriend's eyes on a full moon night. De-Fat, who hails from Neuruppin in Germany but must surely have some distant relatives in Jamaica, arrives crashing onto the scene with what possibly constitutes the most minimal approach we've heard for a long time. No weird samples, allusions to reggae songs and melodic snippets for this man. Lazy bass lines and a digital offbeat slow down the heart rate, rise up occasionally in casual crescendos, only to drop back into the groove with eyes half closed. It's all in the drums, as tracks flow through a black fantasy on the strength of nothing more than a delayed snare, a percussion roll and gradual variations in hihat patterns. The strict minimalism is not a test of will, but stems from the realisation that everything which needs to be expressed is contained within these stripped structures. Not even the godfathers of the genre were this radical – but it's an approach which works wonders when all you want to do is not have to think about anything at all.
Quite a contrast with the latest from Jak, entitled „Swaph“. Both artists hold a high esteem for each other's work and appear to regard the word „deep“ as the biggest compliment for their music. Jak, too, enjoys the nightly shades, the slightly sinister, seductive pull of technoid timbres and cathedral reverb. That, however, is were the similarities end. „Swaph“ is just as much influenced by dub as by techno, it has an urgency to it which clearly sets it apart from De-Fat's open associational stream and its arrangements are filled with myriads of tracks all battling for supremacy. Second piece „Poly“ does its name justice by funneling aggressive strings of vocoded messages through a futuristic pipeline, always on the brink of an outburst, but remaining cool and composed until the end. The title track, on the other hand, pumps on a four to the floor beat that would set many a club on fire, replete with illuminated layers of plentiful polarisations. In the final installment, Jak proves himself to be a man with a future in soundtracks, winds made up of ones and zero howling round an imaginary house of entwined synth stabs, fine hihat whispers and an invisible groove building up in the cellar. Strong, associational music, laid-back yet full-on. No need for another cup of coffee after all.
www.deepindub.org


Maybe it is time to really wake now, though. No release could be better for that than Tioneb's „T Cycle Ends“. Tioneb is a busy man and his oeuvre seems a perfect representation of his life. An active DJ, a webshow host, a versatile producer, one of the heads of the edensonic netlabel and employee of a company setting up windfarms – when does this man enjoy the proverbial pleasures of his homecountry's baguettes, camembert and red wine? Probably not too often, but that's not a bad thing at all for us as listeners. „T Cycle Ends“ is yet another proof that his admiration for the „astonishing skills of Jeff Mills“ have not resulted in hollow reverence. If you listen to the beats, the dry and undeniable hihat- and bassdrum axis and their constant conflict with squeaking, just-out-of-tune two-tone melodies running just-out-of-sync, Mills is never far away, but Tioneb maintains a more open flow, handles a less intellectual approach and integrates diverting little finger clicks, creating relaxing offbeat syncopations. His world is less one of machinoid abstractions than of strict structures sending irrepressible impulses to the body. This is obviously club music, unashamed of its oldschool roots, but with a keen intent on being actively listened to as well. „The Amphetamhymn“ is the big killertrack on this release, a dense wall of percussions providing associations with latin grooves, while a triumphant theme rises from the towering trampoline of a spacey chord scheme. The other pieces are more reduced and more oriented on Detroit, but the overall feeling is that this man could go anywhere with his style.
www.edensonic.com


Meanwhile, Roger M. delivers the perfect musical accompaniment to keep the juices flowing, while simultaneously easing the pressure. Antiritmo is home to his latest output, the intruigingly entitled „My own particular vision on techno“. In three medium-length tracks, an intro and an outro, Roger doesn't redefine the genre's essential parameters, but instead allows a glimpse at its rich set of influences and effectively demonstrates how much this style has emancipated from its crude beginnings. „My own particular vision“ is a colourful EP with glistening surfaces and diverse approaches, a smart statement by a musician who has long left the linearity often associated with four to the floor beats. Instead, his tracks move as effortlessly as pop songs and with an organic grace. „Freakxpress yourself“, a straight, pumping dance monster is the exception amidst a collection of compositions, which demand to be appreciated by more factors than just whether you can shake your hips to them. “Proton“ has a sort of naive Kraftwerk-groove to it and drifts off to „Metropolis“ on the wings of melodic keyboard washes and a theremin-theme, while the seven-and-a-half-minute long „Photon“ is a magic carpetride through weightless airs, long, sustained tones undulating and variations of a warm bell motive sending waves of mantric metaphors to the subcortical. I am always in favour of seeing techno as a celebratory music, instead of its often dark, monotonous cliche and Roger M. seems to agree. His own particular vision is optimistic, jubilant and always carries a smile on its face. Adrenaline-rush, here we come!
www.antiritmo.com

By Tobias Fischer

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“Net Decks” is a weekly feature of tokafi.com covering Netlabel releases from the techno and electronica scene. It is published each Monday. For including your infos, please contact us at tobias@tokafi.com

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