Rhythm proves once again that Raster-Noton’s reputation for being dry, academic and inaccessible is thoroughly undeserved. Bretschneider’s latest demonstrates that exploiting reduction as a technique does not, by definition, exclude funk and richness from the vocabulary. Using an incredible economy of means, Bretschneider has created a powerful album that taps in to the deep dub that has always been present (and all the more powerful for being in the shadows) on Raster-Noton, as well as the power of big, breathing bass.
That Bretschneider would come out with such an organically funky album will be no surprise to those familiar with his output. One of the most melodic producers in the Raster-Noton stable, he was responsible for Gold, the most blatantly pop album on the label so far.
On Rhythm, the track titles double as a reading list of classic mid-century sci-fi, compounding the impression that these stripped, bare constructions are vaguely threatening in their sparseness. But while the titles might evoke androids or the soullessness of an oppressive state, the sound of the record makes it clear that Bretschneider is on a different tack. The opener, ‘A Soft Throbbing of Time’ is a deep dive into dub territory, while ‘We Can Remember It For You Wholesale’ (Phillip K Dick) sets atmospheric and disarmingly sharp binaries against inimitable Bretschneider funk.
And while the slow dub and counter-rhythms of a track like ‘All Summer in a Day’ (Ray Bradbury) have something distinctly alien about them, the album doesn’t create a soulless, synthetic sound world, but a fallible, complex, human one that evokes the best in science fiction. The human side of the record is revealed not just in the organic percussiveness, but in the weaker links, such as on ‘The Big Black and White Game’ (Ray Bradbury) where the prickly rhythms fail to engage as thoroughly as on other tracks.
But regardless of the references, it’s the dominating power of the bass on tracks like the Sähkö-esque ‘Construction Shack’ that shine most brightly on the album, making it an essential listen not only for fans of sparser sounds, but also to devotees of the huge bass constructions in dub-step-techno or DJ Pete and Dettmann’s heavy beats at Berghain.
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Tracklist: Frank Bretschneider - Rhythm01 A Soft Throbbing Of Time
02 The Big Black And White Game
03 We Can Remember It For You Wholesale
04 The Eight Day People
05 Other Days, Other Eyes
06 Construction Shack
07 The Moon Is A Hole In The Sky
08 All Summer In A Day
09 The October Game
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