The development of post Kraftwerk music is like a pendulum between increasingly advanced post analogue sound design and stripped down post-song structures – its sometimes feels like the producer-auteurs try to remove music’s original raison de entrée, pitch and harmony. The controlled information and limited images emitting from Kraftwerk´s Klingklang studios was a brand building masterpiece. The next generation took this information-minimalism and reduced it to mere abstract graphics and serial numbers in an almost autistic isolationist anti-marketing strategy. A series of legendary loopy and dusty minimal 12″ vinyl surfaced in the early Berlin techno scenes hub, Hardwax on the Basic Channel label, also known as Rhythm and Sound. Nobody could figure out how the deep mystery sounds were made, at once both starkly modern yet vintage, as it was recorded through a matrix of tube compressors, space delays, and analogue modules and pitched down on reel-to-reel tape.
The tracks arrangement structure was inspired by the minimalism of second wave Detroit producers like Robert Hood and Jeff Mills, but with a more airy warm feel, reduced to just a ambient atmosphere and a very limitated synth stab being tweaked in endless shades and variations of grey, erasing time, very fascinating but without ANY hummable or memorable hooks or vocals. The records sounded pre-scratched, the grooves integrating the sounds of worn vinyl, skipping in and off-beat. The sound of glitch-dub was born, inspiring a host of quality artists like Monolake and Vladislav Delay and mutated further on labels like Chain Reaction.
The sound probably reached it´s peak with the release of the Buddha Machine gadgets. In a retro-futuristic move, the mysterious crew called Rhythm and Sound lead by Moritz Von Oswald returned to the origin of bass music – Jamaican reggae, and collected the post-club results on the this fantastic compilation, probably inventing European digi-dub in the process, spiced by toasters like Savage and propelled by the deepest baselines in the business, sometimes even removing the instruments for the pure poetic buzz of malfunctioning gear.
Today, Von Oswald is investigating live electronic jams with his trio, playing his trusty Prophet keyboard to the processed percussion of Sasu Ripatti and torn apart by Sun Electrics live mixmaster Max Loderbauer in an smoke screened improvised attempt to marry a odd couple: freeform ambient and live dub.
Article by Morten Vammen.