Marcel Dettmann, Factory Report

[Kontra-Musik]


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The latest offering on the increasingly adventurous Kontra-Musik proves that first impressions are often misleading. Following last year’s stunning debut album, Marcel Dettmann’s latest move is to reconstitute parts, samples and “inspiration” from Swedish dub/drone merchant Mokira — who has graced left of center labels like Type, Raster Noton and Mille Plateaux — into an EP for Kontra. Given the source material, Dettmann’s tendency (and techno music’s generally) towards making experimental abstract techno, and the title, Factory Report — which sounds exactly like the kind of name Throbbing Gristle would give to one of their feedback-coated, bile-soaked albums — you’d expect the release to be powered by industrial noise and anchored by splintered rhythms veering aimlessly into the ether. Surprisingly, the opposite is true. Indeed, it makes for some of the most ethereal music of Dettmann’s career.

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The first version is based on a breakbeat meets dub techno shuffle — the rhythm coming across like an understated Cosmin TRG or Klock production with even more skip in its step than usual — with Dettmann forging uncharacteristically breezy chords and a niggling, bubbling bass with understated insistence to this backing track. It’s hardly like the Berghain resident has started to make pop music, but it does reveal a softer, dreamy side hiding behind the utilitarian, functional fa├žade that has become his default setting. The second “Factory Report” favors a straighter, even more DJ-friendly approach, with a dubby yet curiously deft groove underpinning washes of expansive electronic textures and playful hooks. While it pulses along effectively in the same manner as Norman Nodge’s recent remix of Corrugated Tunnel, it is far, far removed from both the sturm ‘n’ drang of Dettmann’s back catalog and the skewed off-beat approach of Mokira himself. If you want to experience Dettmann in full on industrial attack mode, go and see him in action in his natural habitat at Berghain, or failing that acquire copies of “Apron” and his debut album and play them at full blast. Factory Report, on the other hand, provides fans with an insight into Dettmann’s psyche that in the main, he does well to conceal. For that reason alone, it is an experiment rather than experimental, providing a rare glimpse into the unseen.

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