Marcel Dettmann

Dettmann II

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This second album from Berlin techno maven, Berghain resident, and Ostgut Ton mainstay Marcel Dettmann is a distillation of techno at its purest. Dettmann has always been known for his single-minded, "uncompromising" ethos, and on this album he does not disappoint, serving up another platter of monstrous club bangers. This is an album aimed squarely at the dancefloor, its functional, self-consciously reductionist track titles perfectly reflecting its hard, minimalist sound. It starts with a spooky, aquatic noise like something scraping across the outside of the hull before launching straight into the tough, muscular, and perfectly named "Throb," as a metallic two-note motif does just that, phasing in and out to a thudding, muffled beat. From that point on much of the album consists of variations on this theme. There are no "tunes" here, but there's enough variety to keep things interesting; even among the most pounding beats on the album there are interesting musical ideas, like the glistening, housey atmospheres on "Soar" or the heavily syncopated percussion and sci-fi stabs of the outrageously funky "Corridor," which sounds like the aliens have landed -- and gone clubbing. Many of the tracks have an analog feel, such as "Ductil," with its raw, square-wave synths and skipping, swung beat masterfully evoking Berghain's dank, cavernous, strobe-lit interior. Along the way Dettmann breaks up the album with a few brief interludes like the Oneohtrix-esque synth modulations of "Shiver" and the lush ambient house shimmer of "Outback," while the haunting "Seduction" features the wordless, otherworldly vocals of fellow Berliner Emika. It takes a few spins to fully unlock the album's riches, and casual listeners may be put off by its monolithic fa├žade, but ultimately this is a great record that cements Dettmann's reputation as a purveyor of fine, no-nonsense techno. It's not for pop fans, but techno purists should be well satisfied with the goods on offer here.

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