After rounding off two decades with a suitably heritage-touting mix from Mike Huckaby and release of the 2008 documentary SubBerlin: The Story Of Tresor, the techno bastion presents arguably its first step forward in 2012 with Leitmotiv—the debut long-player from Puresque. On the surface Leitmotiv is a Tresor record. It's not a slick techno album but raw and deliberately dirty. Nor is it broody, menacing, or particularly challenging in any way but unashamedly made for and with the club in mind. Yet it doesn't exactly sound like Tresor. As Michaelangelo Matos phrased it, at no point does Leitmotiv flaunt the institution's "busy and bustling" trademark.
This could be to do with the "arc of suspense" mentioned by the pair in a recent interview, and their dedication to "building something over time and creating peaks." Though in reference to DJing it amply describes Leitmotiv, which itself imitates the trajectory and characteristics of a set. Teased open by "Einlauf"—one of the album's two abstract aperitifs—it unhurriedly unfurls itself over the remaining twelve tracks, slipping almost seamlessly from one to the next.
"Parafin" is deeply groovy and upbeat, while "Reederwerk" and "Grenzwolf" seem intent to chug along with no premeditated conclusion—all far from the grinding 140 BPM onslaught one has come to associate with Tresor. Even the harder, darker moments towards the end of the album—"Säbelrasseln", "Im Keller" and "Salamander"—are softened by an analogue pelt that transforms these otherwise steely techno pieces into something altogether warmer.
Leitmotiv isn't ultra-modern, nor overtly retro, and at times is just plain weird—making it ultimately unique in its sound. But it's with closer "Tagträumer" that it gets really interesting. Puresque have vented discontent with the Berlin scene, and through a speech from 1998 sci-fi thriller Dark City and interview snippet with Guns N' Roses they deliver both their critique and credos respectively, albeit in an obviously light-hearted fashion: one poking at the city's perpetual party culture, the other alluding to the duo's desire to "not follow the set list."
Though Leitmotiv may not be breaking ground especially, it is a significant record in laying fresh foundations from which Tresor can begin to remodel itself, should it continue to push forward-thinking (if not entirely sounding) acts such as Puresque.
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Tracklist: Puresque - Leitmotiv 01. Einlauf
07. Im Keller