Umwelt's latest EP is released on Return to Disorder, the label run by Helena Hauff—and like Hauff, he has an affinity for angular drum-machine rhythms and buzzing analog sounds. Also like Hauff, the French producer can be egalitarian in his choice of styles, with a range that runs from reprobate EBM and industrial to emotive, epic synth-pop. But Destruction Libératrice sees Umwelt in in single-minded mode, as the EP boasts four tracks of fierce and confident analog electro, pure in intent and effective in execution.
A product of Lyon's early ’90s rave scene, Umwelt's something of a Drexciya acolyte—and it shows, as these tracks are imbued with the sci-fi edge that the seminal Detroit unit holds dear, along with an affinity for high-grade production values that belie the inherent rawness of the cuts. But whereas Drexciya's music sometimes had a hint of end-of-the-world melancholy to them, Umwelt opts here for cutthroat swagger. These tracks boast a kind of galvanic energy that's both precise and savage.
Yet Umwelt's skill is that even within all the toughness, these tracks are richly expressive as well; umwelt roughly translate as "environment," after all, and the EP does manage to conjure up worlds unknown. The title track is a moody chugger, with an aggressive kick-drum pattern setting the tempo while a linear array of acidic bleeps keeping pace; ghostly synths occasionally call from the distance, give the track an somewhat eerie feel. Rhythmically, "L'Emergence des Damnes" is classic electro, its heavy TB-808 snare, rapid-fire claps and incessant buzz giving the number a vibe that's both frantic and claustrophobic. On the flip, a grinding acid line undulates along, beat-free, for the first third of "Le Cycle de L'Asphyxie"; when its heaving percussion finally appear, it's not so much to propel the track as it is to add to its sense of dread."Libertés Imaginées" finishes the EP off with pulsing power, sounding like the theme song to a mad scientist's fever dream Destruction Libératrice certainly isn't for everyone—it's not the most relaxing music around, that's for sure—but for those with a hankier for ballsy, slightly dystopian electro, it'll certainly do the trick.
01. Destruction Libératrice
02. L'emergence Des Damnes
03.Le cycle De L'asphyxie
04. Libertes Imaginees