You might remember Elektrochemie for their previous releases ‘Don't Go’ (2006) and ‘Pleasure Seeker’ (2005), both of which arrived on Get Physical Music. The sound of Bodzin, Schumacher and lead vocalist Caitlin Devlin has been compared to James Holden, which has inevitably led to both negative criticism and great appraisal, depending on which side of the “pixie techno” divide you sit. This new direction will see Border Community fans claiming Schumacher and Bodzin for their own, and the claim has some merit: it only takes a couple of listens to their remix of The Knife's ‘Like a Pen’ to notice its suspicious similarity to Holden’s remix of ‘The Sky was Pink’.
The title track of their latest effort, ‘Mucky Star’, is a relentless tech-house affair, with deep basslines complemented by distorted vocals and plaintive lyrics – the perfect record to play during peak time hours of the night. ‘Calling You’ is woven from the same cloth with cutting stabs of broken snares tumbling alongside relentless beats and distorted synths. Caitlin Devlin’s vocals are used to a more significant effect here, lending a more human flavour to a cut that exudes a mood of euphoria, and confusion. Finally, the 12” contains an instrumental version of ‘Mucky Star’. Built from the same structures as the original, the dub is somewhat self-defeating: stripped of Devlin's deep and dark voice, the track forgets its purpose.
Pixie-techno might have caught up with Bodzin and Schumacher, and fans looking for late ‘90s hard techno Schumacher such as ‘Bassliner’ or his ‘Spiel 10’ collaborations with Ben Long would do well to look elsewhere. But others, myself included, will find a lot to love here: Elektrochemie’s humane electronica has more than enough peaks and alleys to lift the spirit. This is a great record.
Tracklist: Elektrochemie - Mucky Star EPA1 Mucky Star
A2 Calling You
B Mucky Star (Instrumental Version)