Martin Schulte: Forest

Arriving as it does after Depth of Soul, Odysseia, Treasure, and Slow Beauty, Forest is hardly the first dub-techno album issued by Russian producer Martin Schulte, and one wonders how many more he's planning on releasing before charting a new direction. That said, Forest certainly argues that his take on dub-techno has reached an ever-increasing level of refinement, especially when he layers the tracks with great care and continually shapes them as they develop. A typical Forest cut sees rhythmic foundations of ultra-deep bass throb and driving techno pulses smeared with dubby chords, atmospheric textures, and myriad other details.

Schulte's dub-techno style is so era-transcending, one attends to the opening moments of “After Summer Storm” before realizing how similar it is in style to Monolake's 1997 release Hong Kong. Schulte's track exudes similar degrees of momentum and propulsion to Monolake's, and Schulte even works into the background bird-like swoops like those on the earlier recording. In fact, cuts such as “Atmo” and “Electrical” suggest that, in general, Forest could legitimately be heard as a lost Chain Reaction recording from the late ‘90s, considering how precisely Schulte has replicated the Berlin label's metallic-techno thud on his seventy-two-minute release.

Don't, by the way, draw an equivalence between the album title and the character of its musical content: Forest doesn't ooze a sundappled, pastoral vibe; interestingly, the track that comes closest to doing so is “Walk on Pavement”—a title that hardly suggests someone hiking through a forest. In the end, Forest doesn't represent a radical departure from what Schulte's done before, but it's also hard to resist the visceral lure of its hard-grooving content.

April 2015