No Movement No Sound No Memories: Removed/Acetate
Lux Nigra

With only three original pieces included on Removed/Acetate, Thaddi Herrmann and Michael Zorn would seem to regard No Movement No Sound No Memories as a side-project—and that's a shame, if those cuts are indicative of what an album-length collaboration might offer. Based on the available evidence, the pairing brings out the best of both: their haunted “Edit” treatment of “Removed” layers increasingly tumultuous squalls and scurrying pulses over a loping base, “Fabric” moves the duo into a dubby tech-house zone, and “Acetate” throbs beatifically amidst a swarming mass of machine swirls and billowing flickers. Still, electronic music devotees assuredly won't complain over the disc's other contents: five remixes of “Removed” by Arovane, Pole, and others, and five remixes of “Acetate” by Claro Intelecto, DJ Maxximus, and more.

The format's the same as Lux Nigra's last full-length, Karl Marx Stadt's 1997-2004, with an earlier EP paired with a later one; thus the first half of Removed/Acetate reprises the 1999 vinyl release of Removed with the second presenting tracks from Acetate's 2006 vinyl release; sweetening the deal, the bridging track “Fabric” is exclusive to the CD. The first half therefore coincides with the emergence of Berlin 's Chain Reaction scene and Pole's first recordings while the second half finds the material moving into hip-hop-influenced territory.

Arovane's lush confection “Amx” is as superb as one might expect, and very much in Uwe Zahn's Atol Scrap style. “Vacuous_Movement” from Lux Nigra head Multipara visits a noisy factory during its busiest shift, with a hammering heartbeat rhythm keeping workers on schedule. Artificial Duck Flavour (Zorn alone) gives the tune a lop-sided funk groove in his “Infarct Mix” while the shuddering chords and gaseous dub pulses of Pole's treatment remind us of how remarkable Stefan Betke's originating sound was and how well it still holds up.

In the second half, DJ Maxximus gives “Acetate” a swaggering stutter-funk “Cold Water” overhaul to nicely complement James Din a4's crisp, pinprick strut. Something J/Bill Youngman's “Skeletal Decisions” takes the tune on a dystopic hip-hop trip, pairing an MC's logorrheic flow with clattering breaks, before Modeselektor's bright carousel machinery and drill'n'bass stutter returns us to familiar territory. Claro Intelecto brings the 73-minute collection to a dramatically bleak but relatively subdued close—not an unwelcome move, either, given the intensity of what's come before. Removed/Acetate will no doubt greatly satisfy Lux Nigra fans but also offers an excellent overview of key electronic styles that developed during the last decade.

March 2006