Spiralgalaxie is Solar One's 50th release, and also the third and final chapter in a series inspired by the Hubble Space Telescope—a typically nerdy electro pursuit that's given us some of the German label's most arresting music, including technoid excursions from Luxus Varta and a striking EP from Convextion as E.R.P. Spiralgalaxie finishes the series with a vinyl release that spreads eight tracks over 32 minutes. (The CD version adds a handful of bonus material, but aside from an old-school hip-hop cut from The Exaltics, they're mostly ambient morsels.)
Project STS-31, the collaboration of Witschakowski and Donald, will be interesting to electro diehards and Drexciya dilettantes alike. The opening title track mixes Witschakowski's polish with Donald's sad melodies. "50,000 Light Years Away" is a clubby number with a whopper of a bassline. The Exaltics' "NGC 253" is the only other track that gestures to the dance floor, doing so with whip-smart drums and bleepy sci-fi motifs. For the rest of the album, however, the two producers explore the outer reaches of their various aliases.
Whatever mode they're working in, there's an obvious difference between Witschakowski and Donald. If you didn't know that Robert Heise, who contributes the lush and expansive "Stars, Gases And Dust," was Witschakowski, you probably could've guessed. As Crotaphytus, a collaboration with Solar One co-founder Nico Jagiella, Witschakowski gets sludgy even as brighter sounds shine through. For his part, Donald is in top form. Der Zyklus's "Ionospheric Delay" is a far cry from the fussy experiments of this year's Renormalon: a rough-and-tumble workout full of cascading melodies and a cheeky bassline. As Heinrich Mueller, he brightens the plodding "Adaptive Optics" with his trademark synths. As Rudolf Klorzeiger, he reduces that sound to its raw, blinding filaments.
The presence of electro royalty like Donald makes Spiralgalaxie special, but it's also worth noting how the pupil has caught up with the teacher. Witschakowski's contributions are just as strong as Donald's, making for an unusually smooth split album. As the apex of the Hubble Telescope Series, these tracks highlight one of electro's best qualities, capturing the mystery of unknowable realms, whether it's the bottom of the ocean or distant galaxies.
Fri / 16 Sep 2016
01. Project STS-31 - Spiralgalaxie
02. The Exaltics - NGC 253
03. Heinrich Mueller - Adaptive Optics
04. Robert Heise - Stars, Gases And Dust
05. Der Zyklus - Ionospheric Delay
06. Project STS-31 - 50,000 Light-Years Away
07. Rudolf Klorzeiger - Globular Cluster
08. Crotaphytus - Diving Through The Oceans Of GJ 1214 B
09. Project STS-31 - Density Waves
10. The Exaltics - Messier 81
11. Project STS-31 - The Supermassive Black Hole
12. Robert Heise - The Survey Of The Entire Sky
13. Der Zyklus - Ionospheric Delay (Extended Alternate Bonus Version)