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  • Filed under: Review
  • 01/10/2013

Marcel Dettmann "Linux" b/w "Ellipse"

With its latest single, Modeselektor's conceptual 50Weapons imprint has reached an important milestone. Marking number 25 in what will ultimately be a series of 50 releases, the label has just made it to the halfway point in its predetermined lifespan. Ringing in the moment is Berghain resident Marcel Dettman, who's turned in "Linux" b/w "Ellipse," the sequel to his celebrated "Duel" b/w "Deluge," which he released on the label in 2011. Yet while much of his past work has been defined by rusted textures and alien tonalities, his latest is a straightforward DJ tool that seems to have been created solely with dancefloor function in mind.

Like its computer-operating-system namesake, a-side "Linux" is utilitarian to an extreme degree. It's minimalistic, with a subtly filtered bassline and pounding, clap-heavy rhythm that combine to form a skeletal beat track, one best suited for connecting two more eventful songs together. The arrangement is sparse, with a linear drive that leaves the listener with a sense that something climactic will eventually happen in the song's five minutes. As it turns out, that moment never arrives, and its absence places the appeal of the record in the hands of whoever is playing it. Listening, it's easy to imagine the possible records that could mix in and follow it in a set.

"Ellipse" provides a similar experience, though instead of building itself around a filtered bassline, the song complements its no-frills rhythm with a mechanical keyboard riff and slippery hi-hats that seem to dissolve into detuning. Just like the a-side, we're left waiting for something to happen—it's the kind of music that only comes alive in the context of a larger construction. Nevertheless, "Ellipse" still feels like it could be used to pull a dancefloor towards something eventful. Judged on this merit, its ability to conjure a feeling of anticipation makes the track a worthwhile endeavour. However, while both cuts are effective as tools, they ultimately lack the kind of definition required to make them memorable as anything more.

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