Patrick Gräser’s output as Answer Code Request tends to be limited to an average of one EP each year (barring his 2014 full-length Code), via either Ostgut Ton or the closely affiliated MDR. It’s a useful window into the music inspiring him, a barometer that gives some indication of where he’s at; however, invariably they all fall within the realm of ambient techno, the labors of a producer widely celebrated for his freeform approach to rhythm construction and complex textures.
The next chapter in the Answer Code Request story is Neume. Where last year’s Calm Down and 2014 release Breathe were both heavy on the driving, club-ready side of techno, Neume leans toward the more theatrical end of his character. In an interview with us last year, he contended that he had "always wanted to produce something different—something that wasn’t already out there," because he is "bored with these basic four-to-the-floor patterns."
It's a sentiment projected over the majority of Neume. The lurching, off-kilter patterns of "Meta" sound almost 2-step-like, banging with the gusto of a tenor drummer. After letting the beats do the talking for a while, Gräser smudges them out with a spectral, diluted high-end. The broken kick in "Vis" is even looser, though shuffling hats and a firm bassline give it real momentum around its melancholic synths.
Title track "Neume" is a slight exception in its conformity to a four-to-the-floor schedule. Opening with a throbbing bass, it leaps into a tribal rhythm full of energy; true to form, it's quickly subsumed by typically moody groans that eat at its other parts. The sense of foreboding constantly swells, aggravated by the introduction of frantic bleeps. As with its accompanying tracks, the depth in its carefully crafted elements show Gräser at his dramatic and unconventional best: an EP that on the whole doesn't fit squarely into home or club listening brackets, but is bound to sound great in both.
Neume is set for release on June 24. Pre-order it at the Ostgut Ton online store.