Landesvatter: Lax

Demonstrating a tasteful understatement others would do well to follow, Franconia-born and Berlin-based Joachim Landesvatter weaves miniscule samples of string plucks, voices, vibes, and horns over compelling rhythm loops in twelve minimal tech-house cuts. Song titles like “Spr.” and “Gro.” reveal little (notwithstanding an obsession with the period) but the tunes communicate clearly enough nonetheless. The tools of construction aren't necessarily new—textured atmospheres, surging microhouse and subtly funky hip-hop rhythms, chopped and sliced edits—but Landesvatter scores throughout with his nuanced handling of the material. Lots of highlights to choose from: the Gramm-styled “Mank.” and “Duz.,” a sweetly chugging shuffle augmented by horn tones, Spanish guitar strums, and a soft flute drone that would do Jan Jelinek proud while syllabic voice fragments slip and slide over a chiming groove in the bright strutter “Spr.” At times resurrecting the Basic Channel/Chain Reaction aesthetic, steely flanges ricochet over a driving bottom in “Kaum.” Landesvatter brings an admirable restraint to it all, whether it be the thwacking minimal techno-funk of “Ber.” or the gliding bass-heavy pumper “Gro.”

March 2006