With just a few days from the current year left, I’ve compiled a list of 20 albums from 2018 that I enjoyed this year. Among these I have to highlight the much anticipated Mutant Beat Dance debut album, the first ever album from Gerard Hanson under the E.R.P. project, a new Gerald Donald project and a compilation of unreleased Heinrich Mueller remixes, a Silent Servant follow-up on Hospital Productions, a very interesting Fred Ventura compilation of unreleased house tracks, a new Lebanon Hanover, the beautiful debut album of Curses, the impressive Eindkrak album and the debut album of the Romanian producer Șerb.
The list is compiled in chronological order.
Eindkrak – Brullend Staal [Unknown Precept]
Djedjotronic Aka Jérémy Cottereau drops an icy 4 track Electro cut for CPU. There’s a clear Drexciyan influence here with plenty of dystopian drama but things are disrupted with the likes of ‘Tunnel’ serving up raw 4/4.
On his new album “R.U.R.” the Berlin producer Djedjotronic lets the cold machines have warm heartbeats, and vice versa. Recorded in a basement in southern France Owns “r.u.r.” A collection of techno-futuristic themes on modern isolation, robotics, simulation and cyborgs. The most aggressive dancefloor moment is undoubtedly “Take Me Down” featuring Douglas Mccarthy (Nitzer Ebb) on vocals, an industrial arpeggio monster track.
French producer and RAAR co-founder Maelstrom makes his debut on CPU with ‘Alph4’, a seven track electro-leaning mini LP of one-take recordings. Maelstrom’s sound on Alph4 is comparable to Aphex Twin’s more restrained Analord output. Focussed, highly detailed production alongside an abundance of evocative synth melodies will ensure these tracks become firm favourites with forward thinking DJs and electronic music fans.
The Zukunft (future) is over. The machine-dreams has been dreamed, the future shock has lost its terror. Compared to the complexity and contrariness of our technologically advanced presence, the utopias and dystopias of the last century has become a vague description of the here and now. Total monitoring? Check. Cyberspace? Check. A man on the moon? Check! We tried to achieve the future so fast, that our thinking could hardly keep up with it. Newer than now? Difficult to imagine. Also and especially not when it comes to electronic music. The new arises from the old, a well-established method since the brainchild of sampling, gets a whole new quality in an interconnected world. The linearity of time crumbles away in our unlimited digital archives, in which styles and cultures, movement and countermovement are collocated, ever-present in unison. It is sufficient to regroup the set pieces from the past and the present over and over again to connote the new, the forward direction.
Tesla286 just does not do that. The well-known stranger, whom self-mystification just fits the mould every bit as his synonym, stops the clocks and takes a look back. He simulates a past where the future still had a future. The 11 exact electro-replicas of the current album move within the realms of a tight historical framework, somewhere between Asimov, Dopplereffekt and mid-nineties Detroit.
With ‘Umlaufbahn’ we will be absorbed in the magnetic atmosphere of a planet. ‘Tesla’s Oscillator’ clearly cites Herbie Hancock’s ‘ Rockit’ from 1984 and is reminiscent of the futurism of Detroit-electro-wave from a beat of another decade. The title track ‘Zukunft’ presses every button in the science fiction narratives between Star Wars and the subaquatic warriors of the Drexciya universe. The cold machine rhythm of the hypnotic tracks lead us back again and again to the fears of a generation, which mistrusts and simultaneously promotes technical progress. Not before ‘Meteorite over Pankow’ strikes a more optimistic tone, which originates from overlooking the imminent extinction of the human race (or at least of Berlin).
Tesla286 has created a fan-fiction version of a long-gone era with ‘Zukunft’, which reflects our own nostalgic look on the once-upon-a-time-future. We pinpoint that our discomfort over the consequences of the technical progress didn’t really change over the last few decades. There is almost a comforting hint to the power of fear over the new, a stabilising human coefficient, which makes this album so newsworthy.