Onmutu Mechanicks

Nocturne

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The press materials characterize the debut album by Arne Weinberg (aka Onmutu Mechanicks) as "a statement of pure deepness," and that's not a bad way to sum it up. Call it deep, melodic techno if you like; Weinberg favors steady, house-derived rhythms, but they tend to throb like a heartbeat rather than pound like a disco beat, and he's entirely devoted to the art of creating dark and cavernous sonic spaces and filling them up with generally pleasant but sometimes slightly creepy dubwise elements. At his best, such as on the brilliant "Catatonic," he starts with a relatively simple foundation and builds upon it gradually, increasing the tension, sonic density, and rhythmic insistence with care and artistry. On "When You Return," he ups the artistic stakes by building the whole track on a single chord, and manages to make it feel both static and highly harmonically active at the same time. At his worst (which probably means "Aspiring to Aspire"), he tends to let texture and atmosphere replace musical content and do so for far too long. And in between, he keeps things dark and thumpy and generally quite interesting; notice, for example, how he takes a minimal bassline with maximum delay and uses it as the foundation for one of the album's stronger tracks ("Lupos Moon") and how he segues almost seamlessly from that track to the equally attractive "Neutrino" and "Constant X." The album closes on an equally dark and thumpy but strangely restful note with "On Silent Wings." Maybe not quite an essential purchase, but a very promising debut.

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