In electronic music it’s pretty unusual for an artist to be totally open about the way he or she built the tracks. Some list their equipment (usually the more primitive and fewer pieces of kit the better in order to demonstrate your genius in crafting a techno symphony out of nothing more than a crayon and an egg whisk), but few detail the construction and reference points for their music as Erik XVI does here.
I’ll not paraphrase him, you can read it yourself. Supposedly this is the first music he’s made for years. Before I’d read his piece, I’d made some notes about which other artists I heard echoes of – we concurred on just one, the Kraftwerk-like synth lines on opener “Unionens sista dagar”. A bit easy to spot that. The track itself reminded me more of stuff like DAF and Front 242, especially with the growled vocals. There’s more old-style influences on “Kalabaliken i Bender” which winds some early eighties electro percussion around a rather sluggish 112bpm kick drum beat. It creates techno to nod your head to in a corner unless you’re on something like ketamine.
The final two tracks are what lifts Stern-Gerlachs försök out of the ranks of the ordinary. Essentially two versions of the same thing,both use recordings of a space shuttle launch: the first to create a widescreen SF techno epic, and the second a beatless, stripped down version with the field recordings centre stage. The first has that muffled but insistent kick-drum beat so beloved by Wolfgang Voigt while eerie siren-like sounds and flaming noise bursts illuminate its path. It reminds me of a dystopian version of Middlesbrough’s vast chemical works. Both it and its companion piece are superbly visual tracks. Whereas the first two tunes are OK, it’s these pieces that really make this EP stand out.
Highpoint Lowlife are also releasing some remixes of Erik’s stuff which are going to be free to download. Go to their site for more details.
By the way, what on earth is the bloke on the cover up to?
1. Unionens sista dagar 5:44
2. Kalabaliken i Bender 6:03
3. Gravitationskraftens stilla vrede 10:01
4. Gravitationskraftens stilla stråker 9:22