Monika Kruse: Changes of Perception
Terminal M

Though she brings German electronic producer Gregor Tresher aboard for her debut solo album Changes of Perception, Monika Kruse hardly lacks for experience in the dance music universe: she's been DJing since 1991 and currently heads up not one but two imprints: Terminal M (a forum for tough techno) and Electric Avenue (which focuses on comparatively more melodic and experimental material). Kruse's partnering with Tresher was no accident; she enlisted him in order to help her break free of “existing musical structures” and to help her cast aside restricting pre-conceptions about her “as an artist and as a person.” The set may be rooted in techno—the pound of the kick drum resounds throughout, abetted by woozy build-ups, bulbous bass throb, vocal chants, and sleek synth themes—but Kruse ventures farther afield by working elements of Latin, house, and funk into the mix.

An insistently jacking pulse opens the doors with “Alo,” after which the early peak “Don't Come Close” adds dubby chords, funky rhythms, and her chanted recitation of the title (apparently Kruse singing for the first time) to the song's ultra-grooving tech-house mix. Shadowed by dizzying pinging oscillations and high-pitched percussive accents that would do Minus proud, “Changes of Perception” subtly builds into a swollen banger. The bass digs deepest during the skipping techno-funk of “Fragile” (by her own admission, Kruse's favourite album track), and for a change of mood there's the sneakily lascivious “Spank Me Later” wherein Tim Price and Kruse trade cheeky S&M patter (“It was good for me / Was it good for you?”) over a razor-sharp pulse. Kruse turns her attention to a locomotive blend of Latin and tribal grooves in “When I Woke Up” and the exotic vibe carries on into “Morgana” when Colombian singer Toto la Mompensina sprinkles her voice over the tune's snappy, aerodynamic swing. While there's an undeniable cohesiveness to the clubby collection, ample richness in sonic detail abounds (e.g., the quietly panning thrums that open “Fragile”) and the tracks typically follow dramatic, upward trajectories as they build to uproarious climaxes (the fabulously swinging house charge of “Wackypaky” is especially tasty), making the hour-long Changes of Perception a thoroughly rewarding listen, headphones or otherwise.

October 2008