Fifteen years have passed since Same Place The Bot Got Smashed, Marcus Manowski’s first full-length as Daze Maxim—a record that captured the spirit of the time, when ballsy, upfront techno had been comfortably established for a while. Around that period, Manowski’s sound fell somewhere towards the quirkier end of that spectrum, loosely connected with producers like Justin Berkovi or Neil Landstrumm. With the turn of the millennium and the dawn of the minimal era, he embarked on a gentle musical regeneration, growing in the direction of solid house grooves, a sound pushed by Berlin's Hello?Repeat, the imprint he runs alongside Jan Krueger.
Rising / Falling somewhat indulges in that aesthetic, but also allows space for ambience and experimentalism. Its title is a reference to the conditions under which it was written, as its creator turned to meditative breathing exercises to reach the necessary mental state with which to record. Perhaps coincidentally, it also squares with its component parts, as Manowski fluidly builds from ambient soundscapes through to four-to-the-floor bangers, before allowing the energy to once again drop off via more left-field compositions. A difficult marriage this may sometimes be, but he does not let any of the experimental material feel extraneous. The beatless “Diachronic” blends a haze of reverberating keys and guest musician Sloth’s trumpet calls, while at the other end of the record “Soon” picks up on a similar vibe, pairing confident chords with uncertain strings in a charming lamentation for its conclusion.
Such an approach filters into other parts of the album too, as Manowski keeps one eye on his instruments, and the other on the machines. In “Anomaly Of A Poetry,” Yonatan Levi’s plump double bass feels totally at home over a muffled kick drum, much like the irregular glockenspiel samples in the Bruno Pronsato co-produced “Ghost Of A Chance,” or the jazz pianist’s keys that creep in and out of the unusually structured “Happy Collapse.” In “The You Show,” eerie bells resonate off one another, sounding something like a Horror Inc. production, and creating one of the album’s strongest moments.
Nestled in this middle of all of this are several bassline-driven dancefloor tracks: “Inbetween” is a fairly formulaic number, which is marred by the inclusion of a misplaced saxophone—a bit too close to mid-noughties tech-house tragedy for comfort. In a similar vein is “Shifty Limbs,” for which Manowski taps into tribal percussion, and even flirts with a bit of acid. Once again though, it is when he pushes the tracks in an unexpected direction that they really come to life—the dubby “Darkness In Your Pocket” aggressively pulsates, with each thrust sounding like another electric shock to your ear. A thoughtful work on the whole, Rising / Falling shows more sides to Daze Maxim than many will have been aware of.