Barker, Like An Animal EP

[Leisure System]

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Sub:stance may be our by-word for bass at the Berghain, but don’t count out Leisure System, another quarterly party at the vaunted techno institution with a similarly shifty reading of low-end theory. Playing host to artists as diverse as Machinedrum, Surgeon, and Dopplereffekt, the club night doesn’t push a specific sound so much as a continuum of inspiration, and it’s a zone resident and co-founder Sam Barker seems to relish in. Until now, we’ve only heard Barker in collaboration with Andy Baumecker, the Berghain resident, and though basically techno releases, both Candyflip and their recent A Murder Of Crows for Ostgut Ton betray a bassy, rhythmically obtuse impulse that seems to flow straight from these Leisure System nights.

In releasing his first solo EP outside of Ostgut, Barker can ostensibly let his bass do its thing outside the techno trappings of Barker & Baumecker. On “Like An Animal,” we hear that breaking free carried out in real time. Beginning with the tiniest 4/4 pulse, the track sounds like it’s heading to a techy place. And then the sub-bass drops, shattering any and all preconceptions upon impact. “Like An Animal” is ballsy: where it ends up could hardly be predicted by where it begins, and the calculations that get him there — big solo synths, percussion that may or may not be constructed from bones — make the track best experienced in full, not mixed out of early. Thus, it begs to be a pivot-point in a DJ set, moving the evening into a distinctly weirder place. “I Feel” keeps things deliciously convoluted, with house bounce in constant threat of subverting Jamaican-style good vibes. Digital to the core, “Hot Lover” approaches dubstep by way of Autechre-esque glitches, making for a real production tour de force. But “Like An Animal,” a compositional and stylistic feat, remains the most impressive track here, one likely to lodge itself deep in your head and into all sorts of DJ bags.

Nick  on May 1, 2012 at 9:25 AM

“The Berghain”. Those funny Germans do love their definite articles, don’t they?

Andrew Ryce  on May 6, 2012 at 1:11 PM


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