BBH: The Memory Foundation, Greenflash EP


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It’s hard to truly gauge the impact Michael Peter and Martin Retschitzegger have had on techno. Their Central label was an indispensable fixture of the scene in the mid to late ’90s, which they used to present themselves under a varying array of pseudonyms, such as The Memory Foundation, Ratio, Skinless Brothers, Die Rhythmiker and Hi-Lo. Their steely dub techno was without doubt cut from the same cloth as that of the Chain Reaction/Maurizio camp, but there was always something different about the work of the Viennese duo. They also appeared regularly on Jeremiah’s Grow! label as Glory B or with Christian Mahringer as The Last Disco Superstars and DJ Cartman, where their output was noticeably more house and disco based. Though they chose to mainly release on those two labels, they did occasionally branch out, with their Greenflash EP from 1998 coming out on Steve O’Sullivan’s Mosaic imprint (also producing a couple of stunning 12″s for M-Plant too). Released during their most prolific period, the four track Greenflash EP offers examples of some of their best work, each track a stand out piece of heavy dub techno.

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Infused with a swinging, broken drum beat, “Basic Color” sways with intensity, chords clambering over each other to reach some vanishing horizon. The oddly-timed, off beat drums were something of a theme for the duo around this time; it added an easily identifiable signature to their tracks and also provided a fresh outlook on the sometimes rigid 4/4 timing structure. The aptly titled “Low Profile” lives up to its name by keeping its head down and working out a straight forward groove via restraint over all of its parameters. The obligatory chord stabs are largely left unadulterated, with the only space really being projected through the snares. Despite its pared back nature, the relentless, rolling “Low Profile” still shines among the other more obvious tracks. “Valve Version” works a filtered sample over obese, bottom end melodies, slowly adding complimentary, decaying chord stabs to the mix. In order to reduce some of the pressure from the speaker wrecking bass, they lace a light, chiming melody on the high end, which balances out the track with a refined consideration. “Un-Theme” strains with the weight of a chord melody trying to push through heavy layers of compression, always straining against an oppressive force, never quite managing to surface but making plenty of impact from the murky depths. One of the things about The Memory Foundation is that rather than stick to the reverb-heavy dub techno of their Chain Reaction contemporaries, they made everything much tighter, preferring to constrict the spatial movement of their tracks to a confined space, which always added a more intense sense of movement to what they did. Although their 2009 Reptiles in Exile EP on Yore showed they were still packing some heat, it will be hard for the Memory Foundation to live up to their earlier work, the Greenflash EP just being one example of their impressive back catalog.

veloziped  on March 9, 2011 at 12:25 PM

agreee! :)

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