Dirk Geiger: Autumn Fields
Tympanik Audio

A combination of beat-based electronica and tape-like experimental collages, Autumn Fields finds Tübingen, Germany-born Dirk Geiger fashioning himself as much sound designer as electronica producer. The Raumklang Music label head personalizes the eleven-track collection (two of them remix contributions by Svart1 and Access To Arasaka) by including sounds sampled from his immediate environment. On his follow-up to 2008's Dondukov 15 (Raumklang Music), Geiger incorporates elements of industrial, ambient, IDM, and field recordings into restlessly mutating tracks packed with detail and incident.

That Autumn Fields lies outside the dark electronica genre oft featured on Tympanik Audio releases is intimated by the melancholy piano reflections that resound amidst falling rain and thunderbolt strikes in the opener “Gewitterregen.” The subsequent “Autum Life” proves to be an even more arresting production of contrasting moods and sound elements. At one level, warm chords oscillate soothingly while layers of traffic noises, speaking voices, and scratchy percussive rhythms merge into a clattering mass so dense it almost obliterates the underlaying base altogether. Similarly experimental is “Noise Format,” which finds sputtering smears of static-drenched radio fragments gradually morphing into a clanking IDM workout.

Though beats pulsate through many tracks (e.g., “Night in Haskovo,” “Minus10”), the album's pieces aren't simply beat-based exercises. Rather beats appear as one element of many in shape-shifting set-pieces that are as much about ambient-industrial design as rhythm. Though minimal beats sputter throughout “Botanic Garden” and “Winter Senses,” for instance, they do so alongside rippling streams of clatter, rattles, and clicks and traffic field recordings and organ tones, respectively. The album's IDM leanings come strongly to the fore during “Overhead Projection” when meandering analogue synths and breakbeats conjoin to create a style suggestive of a slightly noisier Boards of Canada. There's also a glitchy side to the material that comes forth prominently during—what else?—“Itch Glitch,” which Geiger neatly distinguishes by building a chain's clank into a rhythm pattern. At disc's end, the makeovers of “Night In Haskovo” and “Overhead Projection” by Svart1 and Access To Arasaka don't deviate too dramatically from the style of the album's originals and so fit in seamlessly. That they do so further testifies to the wide-ranging character of Geiger's own tracks.

November 2010