What is the dividing line between techno and not techno? Most people would probably say that it has something to do with drums, and in most cases, they'd be right. Techno is a form of dance music, after all; it is rhythmic to the core. Take away the drums, and what's left is something other than techno. Call it ambient, if you like, or braindance, or drone, or headfuck.
But "A2," the unassuming and untitled and totally lovely second track from a new EP by Lowtec, a co-founder of Germany's Workshop label, does not necessarily play by these rules. There are no drums here, but it doesn't feel like ambient music. It feels like techno—just techno where half the channels have been muted, whether on purpose or by accident. Who knows, maybe the producer's cat sat on the mixing desk. (As Chris Marker fans know, cats love electronic music studios.) It has pulse; it has tangled polyrhythms; with the exception of the missing drums, it doesn't sound too far off from Lowtec's equally moody but more floor-oriented productions for Workshop. (This EP appears on Blundar, a new Swedish label.)
Almost everything about "A2" is wrong, in some sense: There's that omnipresent tape hiss, for one thing, which is nearly as loud as the music itself; there's the way that the melody stumbles over the keys, like someone at the keyboard shaking out a wrist cramp and accidentally catching it on tape. The track doesn't even go anywhere, really. It just burbles in place, delay piling up until the original signal is as faint as a gravestone rubbing. Yet it pulls you under its spell all the same, and the louder you turn it up, the greater the desire to disappear into it.
Released By - blundar.net
Review By - Philip Sherburne
Product Images By - airbagcraftworks.com