Welt in Scherben

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I-V Review

by Jason Birchmeier

On 1-5, renowned German artist Thomas P. Heckmann compiles his five abrasive 12" records on the Frankfurt, Germany-based Force Inc. label as Welt in Scherben ("world in pieces of broken glass"). These five records, released between 1998 and 2000, stand out above generic hard techno of this era with their raw aggressiveness and razor-sharp sounds, making this perfect music for any DJ interested in the darker, harder end of the techno spectrum. Throughout the '90s, Heckmann released some powerful techno as Exit 100 and various other pseudonyms but focuses on a unique sound for the Welt in Scherben records -- a blend of hard, minimal techno, and a style described by the Germans as "s├Ągezahn." The traditional, pounding 909 bass kicks and a fair amount of percussive loops lie at the foundation of these 11 songs, giving them the hard techno sound. Heckmann then accentuates this foundation on each song with an array of searing sonic riffs that rip through the duration of each track. These riffs aren't melodic like those found in trance or funky like those found in most techno; instead, they burrow into the listener's mind like uninvited guests. Driving the songs and functioning as the most salient formal characteristic of the songs, these riffs operate similarly to 303 acid riffs -- not essential but memorable and mesmerizing. The full-length CD version of these five records flows smoothly from one track to the next rather well, making it a nice, seamless listen for those without turntables. In the end, Heckmann is creating intense music for the dancefloor, but even the home listener will be able to appreciate the power of this music and its ability to make one's heart rate increase.

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