Thorsten Soltau / Weiss: Rezykla

Weiss: 22.38

Type adorning the back cover of Electroton's latest three-inch disc package reads “Thorsten Soltau deconstructs Weiss; Weiss deconstructs Thorsten Soltau” and, in this case, the statement accurately captures the material captured on the twenty-minute disc. Based on single sounds taken from Weiss's Rephlex album, Thorsten Soltau and Martin Weiss face off across four tracks with Soltau creating two minimal sound sculptures that mutate the rhythmic motion in Weiss's music into fragmented digital elements, and Weiss in turn remixing Soltau's remakes so that they revisit the style of Rephlex. Soltau's “Rezykla3” unfolds as a meandering flow of insectoid noises and chatter, with the material punctuated by occasional percussive accents and undergirded by a whispering drone. His “Rezykla7” burrows even deeper into the soil as it sends up signals of microscopic activity and magnified croaks. More engaging are Weiss's re-treatments of Soltau's tracks. In Weiss's “01.Rezykla,” clicks and scratches establish an animated rhythm that grows close in spirit to the monotone syncopations of Carsten Nicolai's alva noto style. Flute-style accents add melodic character to the tune's forcefully funky groove and noise smears flesh out the arrangement with additional detail. Weiss's “02.Rezykla” likewise gets its groove on, this time by wedding a scratchy funk pulse to distorted noise treatments, including what sounds like a car skidding off of the road. Upholding Electron's penchant for ultra-precise engineering, each of the EP's tracks is exactly five minutes in length. The contrasts between the artists' respective tracks couldn't be greater, and it's this aspect of the recording that catches one's ear more than any other.

The five tracks on Weiss's 22.38 (the title simply reflecting the EP's duration) largely perpetuate the style of his material on Rezykla. That's not a bad thing in this case as 22.38's cuts consistently hold one's attention in the way they fuse scalpel-sharp textural treatments and future-funk rhythm structures. The Nürnberg, Germany-based producer at times mangles his beehive swarm so liberally it feels on the verge of being torn apart, and clicks and whirrs grind, splinter, shatter, and squeal throughout the EP, though never haphazardly; instead their imploded actions cohere into arrangements of an unusual kind, while at the same time the rhythm elements lock everything firmly into place down below. Subtle contrasts between the five tracks are evident, but the EP comes across as more of a unified statement, with the cuts registering as variations on a shared theme. The skipping CD rhythms in the fifth track obviously call Oval to mind, but 22.38 should have strong appeal for fans of alva noto too.

December 2010