The deadpan voice that intoned all over 2008's When Horses Die is back in full effect on the title cut, its near-comic menace backed by an uptempo tech groove that sounds like an EBM track sanded down into round, digital pulsations. The effect is simultaneously sinister and playful, like a Halloween club night. Brinkmann's storied production wizardry doesn't fail him—the mix is full, balanced and inventive, with surprise blips of sound from all across the stereo field. Plus I really feel like the little background voice is whispering "Satan!", and the fact that I'm not sure about this only makes it more unsettling. It's a good reminder to stay on your toes when absorbing a Brinkmann tune.
"Rumpf" plays the German minimal card with confidence. Lively and brisk-paced, the track's full of little ephemeral easter eggs, flickering effects, spectral flutter. At the last minute things expand into fist-pump territory without warning, before just as abruptly shutting down and diving into a lake—as if you've been chilling by the waterside and just taken your headphones off. Closer "Cheap Little Rat" wins points straight out the box for sampling old Bill Burroughs, his unmistakably creaky voice conjuring up a beatnik junkie nightmare via a little spoken-word piece called "Burroughs Called the Law." The funkiest cut on offer here, with punchy, big booty swagger, the tune holds back at first to let Burroughs do the work, unfolding the inherently musical qualities of his drone and drawl. Then Burroughs retreats into the phantomic underground from whence he came and Brinkmann lets the rats out of the bag, expanding the rhythmic scamper and clatter, at one point slicing and dicing the track with face-melting speed, and generally having a go at it. Not a bad soundtrack for the old Dream Machine.