Little over a year on from their debut EP together, Binh and Onur Özer have returned with Treatment 02, an LP that is on first listen almost unrecognizable as the work of that same production team. The tripping, minimal beats that rolled throughout their first outing have been substituted in favor of dark, breaks-heavy electro, without even a moment for reflection. Yet, to anyone who follows the artists, or has been fortunate enough to attend one of their label parties, this progression will seem totally natural: Alongside Nicolas Lutz, Binh and Özer sit at the vanguard of a Berlin-centric movement of DJs that are as much dependent on old sci-fi electro and Detroit techno, as they are the minimal sound more traditionally associated with the scene.
In fact, given a few spins, the album does actually begin to reveal some traits typically expected of the pair: Recorded onto tape via hardware jams, it is a bit rusty sounding, and slightly imperfect at points, but with heaps of character as a result. Opening with an echoing to-and-fro between distant vocals and an eerie whistle, a brooding tone is set for the eight cuts that follow. Track A2 (each is left untitled) then launches straight into a menacing, bleepy breakbeat assault, interspersed with noisy, discordant synths. It is on the flip side with track B1 that things really pick up—a subtle bassline underpins ringing bells, ghostly moans and a feverish riff that arrives around the halfway mark, elevating the track to another more energetic level, in one of the album’s highest points. On a similar tip is the throbbing, broken bass of C1, a sinister tune that is just about kept afloat by crisp percussion, and also the pensive strings of D2, which hang over an electrofunk-style bass.
At other points, things veer off in a more techno direction—C2, the album’s only totally 4/4 selection, bobs along with regular claps and a meaty kick. It shares in the same haunting streak that defines a great deal of the LP, such as in the stripped-back breaks of C3, a spaced-out trip that sounds akin to the early left-field work of B12 or Stasis. As a complete package, Treatment 02 probably won’t appeal to everyone, and is surely not meant to — relentless in its pursuit of dark materials, it is unlikely to align with most people’s tastes. It is, however, a superb and individual take on the genre, imbued with the quirks and qualities of those who put it together.