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  • Filed under: Review
  • 09/13/2012

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Barker & Baumecker Transsektoral

Unlike many full-length debuts, Transsektoral manages to reach across a wide spectrum of music while appropriately balancing the impulse for exploration with a binding consistency. The sophistication with which Sam Barker (a.k.a. Voltek) and Andreas Baumecker (a.k.a. nd_Baumecker)—together referred to simply as Barker & Baumecker—have put together this LP is perhaps a reflection of their curatorial experience as DJs and time spent behind separate labels and booking nights at Berlin's renowned Berghain club. Still, regardless of how exactly it happened, Barker & Baumecker's first collaborative full-length seems to have found a sweet spot between old-school techno energy and the modern underground aesthetic.

The movements of Transsektoral can be hard to follow—and that's part of the fun. Tracks like "Crows" and "NoBody" seem to build in reverse and, along with the rest of the record, feel like polished jams, taking unexpected twists and turns that may have only happened as a result of spur-of-the-moment decisions. Aside from the intro track and a two-minute interlude, only one of the LP's cuts dips below the four-minute mark, while the rest reach into proper instrumental techno length. Yet, the album rarely feels like it's dragging on. This is partially due to the amount of different angles from which the pair approaches its house-inflected techno. "Trafo" starts almost ambient and slightly off kilter before landing on a funky synth groove; "Tranq" lands not too far off from Teengirl Fantasy's brand of new-agey techno; "Spur" (the almost ten-minute closing track) stretches Kompakt-style techno-pop; and "Buttcracker" and "Silo" take on more industrial palettes, churning with a machine-made thump. Somehow, this all manages to fit together rather effortlessly.

Best yet, Barker & Baumecker offer up their share of intelligently crafted "big tunes" here. Aside from the aforementioned "NoBody"—which builds its way to an almost post-dubstep-influenced skitter—"ShlangBang" and "Transit" stand out as the most memorable efforts, with the former hitting on an deliciously slippery bassline and any number of playful rhythms, while the latter employs a dense collection of fluid synths and a stripped-down, four-on-the-floor pattern to make its point stick. Really, almost the entire record is ready for dancefloor action, and one can't help but imagine the unique night-time scenarios or particular types of DJ sets each is best suited for.

In a genre that may not necessarily lend itself to the album format, Barker & Baumecker have found a way to extend their shorter-form successes (the Candy Flip and A Murder of Crows EPs) into an engrossing full-length. From the patient and methodical moments to the flashes of light and energetic dance music, the producers always seem to be in control, and following the path they take makes for a truly rewarding listen.

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