Max Loderbauer, Transparenz

[Non Standard Productions]

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Who is Max Loderbauer? His name may grace the labels of many of my favorite records, but there’s always an ampersand involved. Whether it’s avant-garde experiments with Tobias Freund as nsi., modular microhouse with Ricardo Villalobos, or the free-wheeling textures he supplies as one-third of Moritz von Oswald’s eponymous Trio, when Loderbauer’s name appears on a record sleeve, it often signifies a heady, somewhat academic take on electronic music. So then the arrival of Transparenz, a full length album of Loderbauer unhinged and unaccountable to anyone but himself, is an interesting proposition. We rarely see such perennial men-behind-the-curtain step forward and introduce themselves to record buyers as solo artists, and this month we’ve had two such cases — Loderbauer and fellow Berliner and mastering-engineer-to-the-stars Rashad Becker.

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That Transparenz sounds incredible should come as no surprise, as the man has been working with his modular rigs for a long time now, and yet it’s that very fact that might initially worry some. Music by synth “maestros” can often tread well into boring noodling, but Loderbauer is much more concerned with creating interesting sounds and crafting compelling compositions. Case in point: opener, “Giant Hug,” which sounds much like its title might imply with its drifting, warm, three-note sequence that slowly twists and turns before becoming completely smudged out during its final stretch. “Gamshag” is a simple ambient piece on the surface, but once the volume’s cranked its Neu!-alike tones both unnerve and comfort in equal measure. With “Ssseq,” one of the strongest cuts here, things start to get more and more rhythmic, rising and burrowing in its own time while sound waves continuously lap over each other, until the full-blown arpeggios of “Jea” spray color all over.

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The vaguely eastern flute sounds of “Au” truly transport you to another world, while the slow-motion tones of “Eleg #2” and “Slowrag” are hypnotic, bordering on opiate. Rhythmic oddities return for Transparenz‘s final side in the form of “Shelf,” which seems at first to be having trouble locking into a groove, but sucks you in as soon as you get acquainted with its strange sense of shuffle. “Kontur” sees the record out on an introspective, exotic note, and summarizes the otherworldly, yet strangely familiar world of Transparenz perfectly. Instead of answering the question posed at the start, however, one emerges from Transparenz with even more questions, as Loderbauer keeps us at a tantalizing distance. The record feels simultaneously open-aired and obscured, much like the thick, gray clouds on the cover. These contrasts make for some fascinating listening — as the enigma grows and deepens with every spin, its meaning continues to remain slightly out of range. What exactly that meaning is, however, never ceases to intrigue and consume.


Little White Earbuds August Charts 2013 | Little White Earbuds  on August 30, 2013 at 12:03 AM

[…] [Livity Sound] 04. Kerridge, “From The Shadows That Melt The Flesh 4″ [Downwards] 05. Max Loderbauer, “Ssseq” [Non Standard Productions] 06. Blondes, “Elise” [RVNG Intl] 07. Anthony Parasole, […]

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