krill.minima: Sekundenschlaf

Sekundenschlaf clearly won't win any awards for design, but don't let its bare-bones visual presentation deter you from sampling its contents, which are very good indeed. krill.minima represents, of course, the dub-ambient side of Dortmund, Germany resident Martin Juhls, who's otherwise known for the orchestral ambient material he issues under the Marsen Jules moniker. Sekundenschlaf is, in fact, Juhls' fourth album under the krill.minima name so it doesn't surprise that the material evidences a sound level of craft and polish. Though it's not audibly obvious, most of the rhythm sounds featured in the album originated from ordinary, real-world sounds recorded in his living room, which he then manipulated further in assembling a given piece's melodic fragments and rhythmic structures.

Tracks such as “Bienenkorb” and “Mamor (dedub),” wherein smears and washes drape themselves across organ-like chords and hypnotic bass pulses, draw heavily upon the ambient dub traditions associated with Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound. Consistent with similar releases in the genre (viz. Deepchord), krill.minima's often focuses as much on the textural dimension of a given piece as its conventional musical elements. While “Unter Druck” does feature organ accents and a lulling rhythmic flow, the listener's attention is almost more drawn to the thick coating of crackle and hiss with which the track's covered; “Serpentine” likewise almost buries its woozy, sci-fi crawl under a miasma of ripples and pops, and the ten-minute closer “Timbre” is almost wholly consumed its textural interplay. Jules wisely changes things up in “Monddiode” by giving it more rhythmic heft, animation, and a disposition that's sunnier compared to the sometimes lugubrious tone presented elsewhere. The penultimate “Nachtigal” also switches gears, this time presenting a nimble keyboard-driven exercise that's as emblematic of his Marsen Jules style as krill.minima.

Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing and admittedly that is the case here, with seventy-five minutes of Sekundenschlaf rather more than necessary . Something more in the vicinity of fifty minutes would have made as strong a case for the release and done so more economically and efficiently. Those, on the other hand, who can't get enough of Juhls' dub-techno offerings, obviously will have nothing to complain about.

February 2013