It may have taken Oliver Deutschmann a while to get around to his debut album, but the German DJ and producer hasn't been wanting for things to do. His outings over the years include a string of 12-inches, collaborations with Stephan Hill (as Gowentgone), Koljah, James Blonde and Ed Davenport. He also runs the Falkplatz and Vidab labels. If you've jumped in along the way, seduced by singles like Celebrate Love, or the mammoth "Spaceship Earth," well, Out Of The Dark only partly delivers on the promise of those releases. An intermittently stellar collection of productions, it takes a few listens to really glom onto, but there's a purple patch across the middle that's as potent as any techno album released in the last few years.
Out Of The Dark takes a little while to really get moving. The funereal wreath that wraps around the opener "Fever" doesn't really take the track anywhere, and "Junglo" and "New World Order" sound faltering and uncertain. But soon things click into focus. Tellingly, it's when he gives constituent elements space to breathe that they really take off: the 2013 re-working of "Siem Reap" is hypnotic, built on a classic techno scaffolding; "Space Desert"'s ever-upward strands of synth take the brilliantly monolithic three-note vamp into astral territory. Most enduringly, "Sadness Descends" is low-flying and stealthy, stitching its melancholy with a percussive undergrowth, all itching, rustling shakers.
Often it's Deutschmann's percussive details that really stick with you—it's no surprise Billie Ray Martin recently described him as "giving good rimshot." A good example of this is the sizzling hi-hats on "Siem Reap 2013," which are at once sensual and seriously disorienting.
The problem with Out Of The Dark is its overall tone. Much like the album's cover art, Deutschmann's productions tend to be lacking in colour. Sometimes this works—epics like "Siem Reap 2013" and "Sadness
Descends" are gloriously monochrome—but the tonal focus can drag on
the ears a little over the long haul.