Redshape: The Dance Paradox
Delsin Records

The Dance Paradox, the debut full-length by unidentified producer Redshape, conflates multiple reference points—Berlin and Detroit, past and future, minimal and maximal, analogue and digital—into a fifty-minute whole that's so vibrant and edifying it makes other techno sound generic by comparison. The masked, Berlin-based producer works up serious heat in eight tracks that draw upon techno primarily but house and funk too. One of the key details distinguishing the material is the acoustic drumming of Ben Lauber. On many tracks, his humanizing presence bolsters Redshape's material with a natural feel and adds warmth to the colder synthetic dimension that's at the music's core (to cite one example, Lauber's detonating drums bring a crushing kick to the swelling tones and Middle Eastern inflections of “Man Out Of Time”). An underlying flow of vinyl crackle also gives Redshape's sound a granular and industrial dimension that distances it from techno's often ultra-clean sound. (The two strains merge in “Rorschach's Game” when Lauber's drum briefly intrude upon a largely arhythmic exercise in industrial soundscaping.)

The natural ping of a ride cymbal pattern helps jumpstart “Seduce Me,” after which a deep foray into atmospheric techno finds Redshape lifting off into the upper stratosphere where willowy synth tones meet propulsive rhythmic design. “Dead Space Mix (Edit)” adopts a similar strategy in adding cymbal playing to a heavily synthesized, sci-fi techno ambiance and powerful beat shimmy. The funkier “Garage GT” merges tribal percussion pattern with gaseous emissions and a central pounding pulse, while the familiar shriek of Kraftwerk's “Trans-Europe Express” train barrels through “Bound (Part 1 & 2)” as a locomotive beat pattern maintains a motorik thrust down below. Not surprisingly, The Dance Paradox includes a generous sampling of club anthems, including: “Globe,” a house-flavoured club cut spiced with a metronomik clap, bulbous synth textures, and a slinky groove; and the aptly-titled raver “Dark & Sticky,” which oozes the relentless force of a pounding Monolake track in its fusion of dub, house, and funk.

January 2010