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  • Filed under: Review
  • 02/04/2013

Barker & Baumecker Remixes

Along with commercial mixes from Norman Nodge and Ben Klock, last year saw Barker & Baumecker's album Transsektoral subvert the fantasy of Berghain techno as a humorless, tonally consistent clique. Zipping past those prejudices, the album showed the kind of genre-hopping range that, in contemporary techno at least, is less common an approach than stylistic partisanship. Indeed, at points, it had an improvisational looseness and spontaneity that called to mind Juju & Jordash's loosier, goosier Techno Primitivism. The tracks chosen for this four-track remix EP range from the slinky UK garage of "No Body" to "Crows," whose wheezing melodica gets overwhelmed by orgiastic dub techno.

Information is scarce on the ground about Kobosil, whose remix of "Silo" defaults to the sound Barker & Baumecker playfully skirted on their album. Converting the varied textures of the original into a sheet-metal rhythm track, this version drifts through a few unremarkable permutations before Blawan's take on "Crows" cuts in abruptly, quickly hitting the stride Kobosil didn't manage to locate. Blawan's approach is more brutalist than Kobosil's, yet the distorted onslaught of the introduction lets him turn the song's melody into a more urgent peal—a sweaty beacon from the same underworld Blawan pipes those clanking noises in from. Machinedrum takes a different approach with "No Body," transforming the curvaceous original into a jacking, '90s-reminiscent dancefloor cut. Though Machinedrum makes the vocals evaporate into lovely granular harmonies, it's a surprisingly linear production—something Travis Stewart isn't generally known for. In keeping with the rest of the EP, Third Side—a collaboration between Analogue Cops and Steffi—turns in a revision of the strutting tech-house of "Schlang Bang" with a similarly flattening effect, honing in on a carnivalesque loop and riding it past its expiration date.

Considering the strength of the album and the remixers' pedigrees, one might have hoped for a transcendent release, but ultimately, it's one that's merely functional. While this EP will undoubtedly have some value for DJs looking to round out a set, these Transsektoral remixes fall short of outshining the exceptional original material.

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