Mikkel Metal: Victimizer

Following a trio of Kompakt singles plus releases on his own Echocord label, Copenhagen-based Mikkel Metal (Mikkel Meldgaard) weighs in with Victimizer, his hour-long debut for the Cologne empire. It's an eclectic set, with Metal making vocodered pop, shimmering pop ambient (the tendrilesque garden of unearthly delights “Hemper”), minimal tech-house, and spacious dub techno (“Align”) stops along the way. “Memories” eases the listener in with a moodily atmospheric number, its haunted character deepened by Meldgaard's soft vocal. Victimizer's hardly an entirely mopey affair however. The pace picks up immediately when Meldgaard wraps his vocodered vocal in a chugging blanket of swollen synths in the dubby groover “Rain,” aligning Metal more closely with Kompakt's signature techno sound, and stomps mercilessly during the bruising steamroller “Dorant.” Still, as solidly crafted as it is, Victimizer often comes across as merely average Kompakt fare and ultimately impresses less than it might: “Lurlun,” for example, rides its lurching shuffle into the ground while the goth-schaffel dirge “Victimizer” and sweet lullaby shuffle “Kaluga” start promisingly but don't develop into anything terribly significant. In general, a few more moments of fire to offset its material's smooth simmer would have given Victimizer greater dynamic heft.

March 2006