‘Athanatos’ is the New 12” from techno/electro project Dopplereffekt - featuring one half of the legendary Drexciya - a five-track release that follows on from last years stellar ‘Cellular Automata’. All dour-dystopian-grind, this new EP finds the duo in far more overtly rhythmic territory than last years full length, which arrived a whole decade after their last full album. It's typically lysergic stuff from true dance auteurs.
Vinyl 12" £9.99 LSR022
5-track 12" EP on Leisure System.
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There are many attempted clones, but Dopplereffekt have such a distinctive, precision engineered sound, that when you hear their tracks, it’s clear it can only be the work of Detroit duo Gerald Donald and Michaela To-Nhan Bertel AKA Rudolf Klorzeiger and To-Nhan. As ever, there’s a scientific concept at work, in the case of the 5-track ‘Athanatos’ EP, it's exploring “genetic conditions and chromosomal influences defining mortality”. Fun, right?
I finally achieved a life goal when I got to see/hear them play live recently and was kinda surprised as I was expecting them to be performing material from their ‘Cellular Automata’ album and was secretly waiting for an intoxicated crowd hungry for electro beats to be frustrated, disappointed and climbing the walls while gurning their faces off. But there were plenty of beats - the set was very much in the mould of this EP.
Okay, so the foreboding opening title cut doesn’t actually have beats - they lie elsewhere. It’s a paranoid soundscape that makes me imagine an enslaved robots dark thoughts at night, plotting to murder its master. On ‘Hayflick Limit’ the duo are joined by two of Raster Noton’s co-founders; Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto) and Olaf Bender (Byteone) -- incidentally, Nicolai also did the artwork for the EP. It’s hard to say what they’ve contributed, which is not necessarily a bad thing as they're clearly working on Dopplereffekt's vision and not trying to dilute that with the character of their own respective sounds. It's a gorgeous tune with its bassline straight from the early Dataphysix era, Japanese Telecom reminiscent melody and yearning “extend the Hayflick Limit” vocal, referring to Leonard Hayflick's 1961 cell division concept. The track seems to shimmer and gleam as though it were reflecting inside a hall of mirrors. The eerie techno of 'Eukaryotic Chromosomes' will have a dancefloor well and truly zoned.
On the flipside, there’s a real push and pull dynamic to ‘Mitosis’ where the weight of the beats pull down like gravity, while lush ethereal synth trails ascend towards the stars. ‘Telomere’ (named after the compound structure at the end of a chromosome) has a chiming loop that makes me imagine DNA molecules dancing - the mesmerising twirling of double helixes (hey, I wrote this bit before I'd seen that video). There’s a slightly ominous atmosphere, as though some sort of genetic engineering could turn sour. Solid EP - highly recommended.
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