Our resident techno connoisseur REbEL gets his teeth into Marcel Dettmann's new LP, Marcel Dettmann II...
Marcel Dettmann's second LP on Ostgut Ton is about as pure and uncompromising as a techno long player could get and still be considered a "listening" album. Those that found Dettmann's first LP difficult, with it's "fuck you" attitude and fairly un Ostgut Ton style will be rewarded here despite the simplicity and often unrelenting formality of the beats, this is unquestionably an album with a start, middle and an end.
It took me a while to actually get to grips with "II", I would put it on and drift in and out, sure it had my head nodding, "Throb" is an early, twisting affair that sets the tone for things to come. It's simplistic style demands patience if you aren't accustomed to Dettmann's work. It took the third time of sitting down and playing the album from start to finish, focusing on the sounds and textures, for me to finally understand how good this album is.
Catchy grooves on tracks like "Lightworks" and "Soar" provide enough interest for a simple melodic hook to work a kind of magic that will have you coming back to them time and time again. Warped atmospherics sit at the back and there is a real night time urgency present, particularly with "Soar."
"Outback"'s delicate strings that occasionally filter in and become stretched and pitched up and down can easily be considered beautiful, warm reverb soaks them as the minimal, ever constant rhythm of bass and tom co-ordinates the whole thing like a mutated conductor at the head of a ghostly orchestra. This leads the listener into "Seduction" (featuring Emika, the only vocal present on the album). It's incredibly haunting, once again the constant rhythm sounding very much like a modular sequence pushes the track along while the other elements interact wonderfully. The tune feels like the mid point of the LP, it feels like a breather, no less minimal and still with a relentlessness to it but it's much more of a soundscape interlude. The tension is really ramped up as synth stabs become more prominent then fade away.
We then hit into "Radar", which brings back the 4x4 beat and continuous, rigid, sequenced bass. Once again it's the minimal nature of the music that brings out the best in each sound. The result is moments like the rich, warm sawtooth growl sound absolutely amazing. "Corridor" has a similar vibe, sequenced sounds rotate, the tempo is picked up slightly the atmospheric background noises are still interesting, you think it will keep going but instead we are treated to another beat-less interlude in the form of "Stranger". This one is a really interesting track, sizzling with detail, it sounds like Dettmann somehow travelled back to a volcanic land of dinosaurs, it's creeping pads ominous and thrilling in equal measure.
"It took the third time of sitting down and playing the album from start to finish, focusing on the sounds and textures, for me to finally understand how good this album is."
"Aim" closes the album, thunder claps and rain falls, the beat is hard but the pads wash over the listener, it feels like a hug from a creature you once thought of as a dangerous beast. A great way to finish the LP.
I hesitate to use the word formula as this album isn't formulaic in the slightest, it has a creative edge and braveness that is clear but Dettmann has a distinct style and this is clear throughout "II". He's managed to craft something minimal and sometimes punishing into a real work of art, this is techno done really, really well and it rewards repeat listening, trust me on that. Ostgut Ton once again deliver something a bit special.
Agree with my selection(s) this month? Anything I've missed, or anything that I should be checking out for next? Get in touch via email@example.com or hit me via @jonnyRebel_uk on Twitter.