Peter Prautzsch: Fever Drawings

You'd never know it from listening to Fever Drawings, but Peter Prautzsch's earlier output (such as 2012's Neo Ouija outing Schwere See) is comparatively ambient-styled in nature. The rhythmic thrust of the new material thus puts significant distance between where the Berlin producer was before and where he is now. There's no ponderous, over-arching concept and no drones or ambient-electronic settings, just eleven distinct productions powered by muscular bottom ends.

“Quiet Joys” kicks the album into gear with a blinding smear of radiance, the opening immediately intimating that Fever Drawings will be a very different project than that which preceded it. Cymbals, snares, and kick drums ground the track in a dense percussive swirl, which finds its complement in the shimmering electronics and synths that similarly swirl throughout this multi-layered splash of sound. Like much of the album, “Knife Dance” feels built from the ground up, the foundation in this case a swinging, tribal-styled drum groove that Prautzsch supplements with a dazzling mix of mallet patterns; feverish and intoxicating, it's one of the album's standouts, though hardly the only one. “Victorian Dove” instantly catches one's ear with an infectiously funky house pulse that one imagines could make the transition to the dance club with ease. “Pure Thought” also attracts one's attention, though for a different reason: a mid-song sequence featuring voice fragments assembled into a rapidly flowing stream. As punchy as the recording generally is, Prautzsch makes room for a few tracks of a more restrained disposition, the sultry downtempo reverie “Night Song” one memorable example.

Echoes of his earlier ambient focus surface now and then. “Unfold Fully,” for instance, builds upon its roiling rhythmic intensity using atmospheric design, with hushed vocals and string washes contributing to the track's wide-screen effect. Innumerable fragments then ricochet across the punchy surfaces of “Wolf Trap” in a manner reminiscent of dub, even if the track's hardly what one would label dub in the conventional sense. His skills as a shaper of sound work to the material's advantage, too, in the way Prautzsch enhances a track's beat structure with a rich inventory of elements, be they strings, electronics, or otherwise. Fever Drawings was apparently three years in the making, and it shows it in the attention to detail that's evident throughout; Prautzsch clearly has traveled a long way since 2007's Vor Der Stadt as well as the Ghosts album and Clairvaux EP he issued under the Palac alias in 2008.

October 2015