Bodzin’s craft, on here but also on previous productions, lies in his abilities to be technically mechanical yet emotionally evocative. But this very emotionalism is about that so-called darker side of the moon and those repressed, unreleased tensions, albeit always vague and abstract: album closer ‘Vendetta’ and previous single ‘Kerosene’, for example, both feel like aural equivalent of the Freudian death drive, hovering basslines and going-nowhere fractured beats announcing some unarticulated, brooding menace. Otherwise, most cuts stay circular all around, beating around the same sonic bushes, and when they momentarily peak (current single ‘Liebe Ist…’ or the perkier ‘Turbine’ come to mind in terms of climaxes), they are not bringing any real sense of release nor relief. Bodzin’s poetics are all about manic repetition of the same skewed spacey sounds, about dancing with your feet glued to the ground, yet you can’t help but to feel right at home, comforted and elated.
At the same time and in the same vein, longtime Bodzin collaborator Thomas Schumacher is releasing the fifth episode of his ‘Perlen’ mix series. If the previous mix, released about two years ago, was all about hyped-up and in-yer-face electro-tinged techno (best epitomized by Black Strobe’s ‘The Abwehr Disco’, Hell & Heil’s ‘P.D.D.’, and the Vitalic remix of Basement Jaxx’s ‘Cish Cash’), the Schumacher of 2007 is in a more contemplative mood. And since half of the tracks on here are either penned, co-produced, or remixed by Stephan Bodzin himself, it is his quietly temperamental shadow, and not Schumacher’s that much, that is underpinning the overall atmosphere of the mix.
Opening with more classic house tracks by Flashie’s Fragrant and Dapayk & Padberg, Schumacher then quickly sets the tone of what’s to come with his own ‘Rising’ (sounding like what could actually be a ‘Liebe Ist…’ outtake), M.A.N.D.Y’s digitally cheery ‘4 Plus 1’, and Audion’s criminally overlooked ‘Mouth to Mouth’ B-side’s ‘Hot Air’. Again, you’re always somewhat left with the impression of an impending disaster waiting to happen, with alarming bleeps and ramping synths coming at you from all remaining tunes, and ending the whole thing with Elektrochemie’s ‘You’re My Kind’ and Bodzin’s own aforementioned ‘Pendulum’ all but enhances that feeling of organized creepiness.
In both cases here, though, you have the fascinating sum of recent electro house developments incorporating progressive house’s sense of drama and trance’s flanger-tinged pads: ‘Liebe Ist’ and ‘Perlen 5’ are honoring, both in the album and mixed format, the Stephan Bodzin School of Bleepy Electronics aesthetic, and you could hardly find something that would be more engaging, German, and obscurely ‘now’ than this.