Observer: Schwefelgelb & Fractions

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written by I Die You Die
July 13, 2018 | Category: Album Reviews, Observer


Schwefelgelb
Aus Den Falten
aufnahme + wiedegarbe

Schwefelgelb are leaders in the techno-body music movement that has emerged over the last few years, capable of appealing to both aficionados of trad-minded EBM and European techno without committing themselves to either camp. New EP (courtesy of aufnahme + wiedegarbe with whom the duo released last year’s excellent Dahinter Das Gesicht) Aus Den Falten doesn’t signal a major sea change for Sid Lamar and Jonas Förster’s sound, although there are some intriguing wrinkles to be found amongst its four tracks. Opener “Obwohl Es So Aussieht” is almost textbook Schwefelgelb in approach, with a rapidly cycling bassline and delayed vocals from Lamar and alternately metallic and thudding percussion. That lends contrast to what follows, as “Der Pool Schweigt” dials the tempo way way down, going for an awkward robotic groove and tweaky percussion sequences that bring to classic EBM without resorting to obvious tropes. “Wie Die Köpfe” turns the heat back up to a steady boil, interspersing its workmanlike arrangement with arrhythmic melodies and unexpected variations in the programming. “In Dem Laken” is the most techno track, which minus the vocals and the straining, tearing metal sounds that ornament it might almost be called minimal. It’s yet another strong release from a duo who can basically do no wrong at the moment, who understand the sound they ply perfectly, down to knowing when to depart from it and when to play it straight.

Fractions - Control
Fractions
Control
Fleisch

The terrain tread by Czech newcomer Fractions is well-worn, to be sure. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone looking to press their techno-EBM release into your hands, and while it’s all in good fun for the moment, the law of diminishing returns is bound to set in soon. Fractions, though, won’t be on the wrong side of that equation. Showing a preternatural flair not only for arrangement but for sound design which suits the current club climate perfectly, the six track Control EP doesn’t just hearken back to the EBM heyday, but shows off a real appreciation for decades of harder techno while still sounding fresh. The acid bass of “Welcome To 303 City” is a given from the title, but the mix of breaks and big beat rhythms against which the classic squelch is set is a welcome change, showing off an interest in classic sounds a few years younger than the more minimalist origins of acid house. It might get lost in shoddier club systems, but in addition to the nigh-perfect kicks each of Control‘s tunes have a heated, dusty atmosphere, setting the tightly shuddering bass of “I.D.M.” off well, and almost taking control of “Control” in the spaces between its strict and detuned builds. An instant club knockout, Control leads us to suspect that this isn’t the first rodeo for whoever happens to be behind the Fractions moniker, but regardless of resume they have more than enough chops to dominate today’s floors.

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