Shredded With Time
I think it’s fair to say that the techno-EBM crossover craze crested in 2023 if it hadn’t already done so in the previous year. Mainstream coverage seems to be down (and if a Berghain analogue appearing in John Wick 4 wasn’t a sign that the underground had been in mainstream consciousness for some time I don’t know what is), and in industrial focused clubs the same old concrete kicks aren’t enough to get you primetime play. All this is to say that if you’re going to continue to trade in the style you’d better be damned technically accomplished, and more importantly have enough personality in your productions to keep them from being lost in the shuffle. Lucky for us, and for the always dialed in X-IMG label, that description fits France’s Notausgang to a tee, and he delivers on it properly with his new tape.
Links with acid and the less austere, more colourful sides of body music have always made Notausgang distinct, and while Shredded With Time finds him heading into icier (and possibly more distinctly post-industrial) territory than ever before, he’s keeping the former firmly in place on that trek. The cinematic, sweeping lead programming of opener “All The Light Between” might suggest trance or futurepop depending on your clubbing pedigree, but either way it sits in evocative contrast to the rhythm programming, which has exactly the sort of rubbery shudder we’ve come to expect from Notausgang.
Albumcraft isn’t really something that releases in this style are judged upon, and while I’m not going to claim that Shredded With Time is a masterpiece of concept or sequencing, its willingness to not just go right down the pipe with the most obvious of choices or arrangements makes it as pleasant to listen to in the car or on a nighttime walk as on a proper club system. Early highlight “The Empty Figure” uses dramatic, stabbing strings to cinch itself in more than its rhythm, while the sawtooth disco of “Hide Behind Yourself” is progressively filtered and layered in such a way that it sounds like a track that started playing while you were still outside the club and has nearly run its course by the time you’re on the floor. When the seriously doofy kicks of “Wuterengel” come in two thirds of the way through the tape, they hit heavier for having been absent until that point, the track bringing hypnotic vintage dark electro into the now much the way Gatekeeper did more than a decade ago.
A little bit of variety goes a long way in this style, and there’s a good amount of it in a tight package in Shredded With Time. Whatever the future of TBM turns out to be, the combination of fundamental compositional soundness and individual style Notausgang’s had on lock since we started checking his work out in 2019 will serve him in good stead.