Marcel Dettmann's latest for Ostgut Ton opens plainly, with two minutes worth of droning, sparse beats and NASA radio chatter forming "Barrier." From here, however, it's all systems go. "Translation One" is carried by a writhing, insistent rhythm, like some insectoid alien struggling to break free from a vile cocoon. Piercing pad sweeps and clicking, mandible-like hi-hats vibrate their way violently through the mix. On the other side, "Translation Two" is a little more forgiving, but retains the non-human feel. Over punishing kick drums, amorphous blips (or perhaps blobs) race blindly forward, leapfrogging one another in their desperation to reach the finish. Their viscous tones are systematically punctured by a serrated hi-hat, which saws its way back and forth mechanically. Then there's "Planning," a track similar to last year's "Post-Traumatic Son," from O/V/R. As with the other two, the Berliner keeps the stomping kick and abrasive hi-hats. The synth-work though, has a twanging, spidery quality, scuttling its way up and down the scale at random.
If you've ever wondered what Dettmann or—anyone else—means when they talk of creating "sketch-like" compositions rather than employing traditional song structures, see Translation. All of the functional tracks last for five minutes-something, plowing through without the need for breakdowns, crescendoes or refrains. They do so with almost laughable ease, their burly hysteria mesmerising enough in itself. In fact, it's nigh on impossible to pinpoint where any of Dettmann's melodic elements begin or end, which—along with immaculate engineering—is perhaps what makes this record so amazing. Maybe it's the countless statements that Berghain's residents have an unparalleled knack for tailoring their productions for the club's famous system, but I was almost disappointed to experience this "just" with studio monitors. That's okay; I'm sure I'll be hearing it elsewhere very soon.
Buy Marcel Dettmann - Translation EP at
Tracklist: Marcel Dettmann - Translation EP A1 Barrier
A2 Translation One
B1 Translation Two